09/16/2009 11:00PM

Strangles found at Hoosier Park


Two horses have tested positive for equine strangles at Hoosier Park, and the other 57 horses stabled in the same barn will now also be tested for the illness.

The barn in question, Barn 5, was quarantined on Friday when two horses trained by George Leonard III showed signs of the disease. Tests were conducted and sent to the state laboratory, with the results returned Wednesday evening. The two horses who tested positive have been removed from the barn area and are being held in isolation. No other horses have shown signs of the disease, and the rest of the Hoosier Park barn area is fully operational.

Strangles is caused by a bacterium called streptococcus equi and affects a horse's lymph nodes in its upper respiratory tract. Strangles is not usually fatal in horses, but on occasion can be.

In addition to Leonard, trainers with horses in Barn 5 include Duane Swingley, Merrill Roberts, Roy Evans, and two horses trained by Ron Brown. Horses trained by Brown in another barn are not affected.

Horses in Barn 5 have not been allowed to train since the quarantine began, but track officials and horsemen are attempting to work out an arrangement where they will be able to return to the track.

Hoosier Park has taken bio-security measures, such as disinfecting the paddock, saddling area, and starting gate after each race. The assistant starters are wearing disposable gloves and change them after every race, and pony riders and outriders are cleaning their tack and horses where they touched another horse after every race.

Horses stabled at Hoosier Park are not allowed to enter any racetrack or public training facility in Kentucky until further notice on the advice of the Kentucky state veterinarian's office. No entries will be accepted in Kentucky for any horse that has competed at Hoosier Park within 14 days .