01/17/2014 5:08PM

Santa Anita: Two horses test positive for mild form of herpes equinevirus


ARCADIA, Calif. - Two horses based at Santa Anita with trainer Tim Yakteen have tested positive for equine herpesvirus, the California Horse Racing Board and the trainer confirmed on Friday.

Yakteen identified the horses as Santa Fe Belle and Easy Ten. They have not raced.

The health of the horses is not considered to be in danger, according to Yakteen.

Santa Fe Belle was diagnosed with equine herpesvirus, commonly known as EHV-1, on Jan. 10. The case was confirmed by an equine clinic in San Diego County. Easy Ten was diagnosed on Friday and is under isolation in a stall at the end of Yakteen’s shed row, away from other horses in the barn.

In a brief statement, the racing board said the horses identified have the “non-neuropathogenic strain of the virus, which is generally considered less virulent. Biosecurity measures recommended by the CHRB are being taken to ensure a safe environment.”

Yakteen said that Santa Fe Belle has “shown improvement” in recent days. “She’s moving in the right direction,” he said.

Yakteen said the stable has taken steps to ensure the virus does not spread to other horses in the barn.

“It’s pretty standard for what you do for a horse when a horse is ill,” he said. “You do your due diligence.”

Yakteen said he has volunteered not to run horses through Monday. His horses will be allowed to train in the mornings. If accompanied to the track by ponies, the ponies must be from Yakteen’s stable and not ones that have interacted with other horses in the general horse population. The Yakteen horses cannot be schooled in the paddock or at the starting gate this weekend.

The positives for equine herpesvirus are the first in California since an unraced 3-year-old filly was euthanized last March from the effects of the disease.

The virus has occurred at other racetracks in the last two years. The barn area at Hawthorne Racecourse, near Chicago, was hit with a severe case of equine herpesvirus in the fall of 2012, resulting in the deaths of seven horses and a quarantine being placed on the stables.

There was a two-month quarantine in effect on the stable area at Parx Racing in suburban Philadelphia  until last week after a horse there tested positive for equine herpesvirus.