10/03/2015 8:23AM

Quarantine at Parx after filly tests positive for equine herpesvirus


A 2-year-old filly at Parx Racing has tested positive for the equine herpesvirus, resulting in a quarantine of the stable area.

Horses are allowed to ship into Parx to race, according to Sam Elliott, director of racing, but they will not be able to leave the grounds during the quarantine. The quarantine is expected to last four weeks, according to Elliott.

The sick filly, Top of the Stretch, is trained by Blane Servis and owned by Tuozzo Racing. She made five starts at Presque Isle Downs between May 25 and Aug. 27 for trainer Nick Caruso. Top of the Stretch was sent to Servis about two weeks ago and finished 10th and last in a Parx allowance race Sept. 26.

She became sick several days after the race and was sent to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center in Ringoes, N.J. On Friday night, test results confirmed she had the equine herpesvirus. The Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center has state-of-the-art isolation facilities for cases such as this, said Elliott.

The equine herpesvirus can cause respiratory and neurological problems in horses. On occasion, it can prove fatal. It also is contagious.

"She went to the track for the first day since her race, and the rider came back and said she didn't feel right behind," Servis said. "It progressed pretty quickly, so we sent her to the clinic. She wasn't that sick, but she was losing her control behind and acting strange."

Servis is stabled in Barn 29 at Parx. Other trainers in the barn include Marya Montoya and Eli Betancourt. The horses stabled in Barn 29 have been told they will not be able to train or race while the quarantine is in effect.

The quarantine puts the Breeders' Cup plans of Favorite Tale in jeopardy. Trainer Lupe Preciado wants to run Favorite Tale in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, but for now, he must remain at Parx. Even if the state were to give Preciado permission to leave, it is unclear where he could stable and train in Kentucky. Favorite Tale earned a fees-paid berth to the BC Sprint by winning the Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park, a Win and You’re In Race for the Breeders’ Cup.

Servis and Elliott said while Top of the Stretch tested positive for the herpesvirus, she has a low level of the disease.

"She tested positive for herpes but at a very low level," Servis said. "They tell me she is less likely to be contagious."

This is the third time in recent years Parx has had an equine herpesvisus quarantine. Horses at Parx tested positive for the disease in February 2014 and November 2013, with both incidents leading to quarantines.

The quarantine resulted in 37 scratches Saturday at Parx, including BC Filly and Mare Sprint hopeful Stonetastic, New York-based Room for Me, Barbara Fritchie Handicap winner Lady Sabelia, and eight-time stakes winner Galiana, all of whom were entered in the $150,000 Roamin Rachel Stakes. Only two horses remained in that field.

The Maryland Jockey Club is not allowing horses recently stabled at either Parx or Presque Isle Downs to ship in.

The Presque Isle meet is scheduled to conclude Oct. 6.

Martin Panza, the senior vice president of racing at the New York Racing Association, said Saturday horses recently at Parx will not be allowed to ship into NYRA tracks.