04/05/2016 10:10AM

Second horse at Parx tests positive for herpes


A second horse has tested positive for the equine herpesvirus at Parx Racing, which will extend the current quarantine into at least early May.

The 3-year-old filly Monkey Hill was tested for the virus after becoming sick, and on Monday afternoon it was confirmed she had tested positive. Monkey Hill is trained by Michael Aro, the trainer of No Quid Pro Quo, who last Friday was determined to have the herpesvirus. No Quid Pro Quo was sent to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Center in Ringoes, N.J., the middle of last week after becoming ill, and has since died.

Sam Elliott, the director of racing at Parx, said Monkey Hill's temperature had subsided by Tuesday morning and that he was in the process of attempting to locate an offtrack farm where Monkey Hill could be isolated.

The equineherpesvirus can cause respiratory and neurological problems in horses. It is a contagious disease that can sometimes be fatal.

Two barns on the Parx backstretch, Barn 30 and Barn 4, have been quarantined and the horses in them are not being allowed to train or race. Aro and trainer Ron Dandy are housed in Barn 30, and trainers Butch Reid and Keith Nations are stabled in Barn 4.

Barn 4 is quarantined because Reid claimed Sunshine Wild from Dandy for $40,000 on March 29, the day before No Quid Pro Quo became ill. According to Elliott, Sunshine Wild became ill several days ago but has tested negative for the equineherpesvirus.

Horses stabled at Parx are not allowed to leave the grounds and, although racing is scheduled to continue at the Bensalem, Pa., track, entries are no longer being accepted for horses stabled elsewhere. Elliott explained that if horses were to ship in to run they would have to stay at Parx until the quarantine was over and that he does not have the stalls needed to accommodate them.

The quarantine will stay in place until 28 days pass without a horse testing positive for the equineherpesvirus. The Friday test report on Monkey Hill restarted the 28-day period, which will now extend until May 2.

On Monday, Parx ran 11 races, but many had short fields due to scratches. Monday's races were drawn before No Quid Pro Quo became ill. The track has a nine-race card Tuesday.

This is the second equineherpes quarantine at Parx in the last six months. The track was quarantined for practically all of October 2015 after a single horse tested positive for the virus after shipping in from Presque Isle Downs.

Two tracks in the Southwest, Sunland Park and Turf Paradise, were quarantined over the winter due to the equineherpesvirus. Sunland Park was forced to suspend racing from Jan. 23 to Feb. 26 after a reported 68 horses became ill.