Updated on 03/08/2013 3:08PM

Santa Anita: Filly euthanized after contracting equine herpesvirus


ARCADIA, Calif. – An unraced 3-year-old filly was euthanized in the Santa Anita stable area on Tuesday from the effects of equine herpesvirus, or EHV-1, the California Horse Racing Board announced in a statement on Thursday.

The filly, My Sugar Sugar, was trained by Eddie Truman.

The filly’s death is not expected to result in a quarantine of the Santa Anita barn area, according to Dr. Rick Arthur, the racing board’s equine medical director.

“If I thought a quarantine was necessary, we’d do it,” he said.

Arthur said in an interview that incidents of horses euthanized from the effects of equine herpes in California are “not infrequent.”

“These are single, individual incidents that don’t spread from one horse to another if you pay attention,” he said.

The racing board’s statement said that no other cases of EHV-1 had been detected at Santa Anita.

“Horsemen in California, particularly at the major tracks, are attuned to health issues,” Arthur said. “This horse had good vet care.”

Truman, 66, said that he was stunned by the loss of My Sugar Sugar.

“We’re taking every precaution and cleaning everything and sanitizing everything,” Truman said. “I’ve never had a horse with it in my life. I was in shock.”

Truman said that My Sugar Sugar spiked a temperature last weekend that led to her receiving medical treatment. At the time, Truman said, he was not alarmed. “It’s normal with 2-year-olds coming in (to the barn area), but she went downhill fast on Tuesday,” he said.

My Sugar Sugar’s conditioned worsened over a six-hour period on Tuesday. During that time, the California Department of Agriculture was notified of a suspected case of EHV-1, the racing board said.

My Sugar Sugar, by Van Nistelrooy, had yet to start. She was in training last summer and fall, and was ready to resume workouts when the illness struck.

“She was just getting ready to work,” Truman said.

EHV-1 has an incubation period of approximately 3 to 8 days, with some cases taking as long as 14 days, the racing board stated.

The barn area at Hawthorne Racecourse in Chicago was hit with a severe case of EHV-1 last fall, resulting in the death of seven horses and a quarantine being in place in the stables.

In its statement, the racing board said, “Horsemen in the Santa Anita stable area are advised to be especially vigilant in this regard and to immediately notify the CHRB official veterinarian if they have any suspicious cases.”