01/09/2017 2:16PM

Safeguards in place at sales for EHV-1


The quarantine at Fair Grounds due to several cases of equine herpesvirus has had a ripple effect across the Thoroughbred industry, with Delta Downs rescheduling a pair of stakes that would have been decimated due to a lack of shippers and Grade 1 winners Gun Runner and I’m a Chatterbox, both stabled at Fair Grounds, unable to travel for early-season engagements.

The sales industry also has been affected, with several prominent racing or broodmare prospects who most recently raced or trained at Fair Grounds forced to be scratched from this week’s Keeneland January sale of horses of all ages, as precautions against the spread of EHV-1 prohibit them from being on the sale grounds.

“We’ve had two horses who had to be scratched,” Mark Taylor said of his family’s perennial leading consignor, Taylor Made Sales, adding that one of the outs, Cinnamon Spice, was “arguably our nicest horse in Book 1.”

“The horses don’t have any symptoms, everything looks to be fine, but they can’t be here at the sale,” Taylor said.

Fair Grounds quarantined its entire backstretch – with no horses permitted in or out – on Jan. 2. The track has had seven EHV-1 positive cases, both for the neuropathic subtype most commonly associated with fatalities and for the less-severe wild subtype. The most recent positives, reported Saturday, were for the wild-type strain.

The Office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian has imposed a state embargo on any horses who have been at a Louisiana track or training facility since Dec. 10, with those horses not permitted to ship to any track or training facility in Kentucky. Louisiana-based horses may ship to farms in the area for sale preparation but could not be on the grounds at Keeneland this week.

“Everybody’s got to be cautious, and I think they’re doing the right thing,” Taylor said. “You can’t play around with a situation like this or it can get out of control fast.”

Cinnamon Spice, whom Taylor Made would have consigned as agent for Fox Hill Farms, finished fourth in the Tiffany Lass Stakes on Dec. 26 at Fair Grounds for trainer Larry Jones. The Candy Ride filly is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Violence, from the immediate family of champion Sky Beauty and others.

Other notable scratches from Keeneland January included multiple Grade 3 winner and Grade 1-placed Uchenna, who finished fourth in the Blushing K. D. Stakes on Dec. 17 at Fair Grounds; Savings Account, who won the Treasure Chest Stakes in November at Delta and has since been training at Fair Grounds; and an unraced filly named Queen Jolene, from the immediate family of champion Stevie Wonderboy, who has worked at Fair Grounds in recent weeks.

Those racing or broodmare prospects would have been consigned by Bluewater Sales, Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, and Woodford Thoroughbreds, respectively.

Consignors are now making other plans for their scratches, with the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale Feb. 6-7 a target for some if the travel restrictions are lifted in time.

“We’ve rolled them over into the February sale,” Taylor said. “Presuming they stay healthy, they’ll be outside the window of any restriction by the time it goes off.”