06/04/2010 11:00PM

Three Lone Star trainers have horses quarantined


The Lone Star Park stables of three trainers, including meet leader Bret Calhoun, were placed under quarantine indefinitely on Thursday after each had a horse test positive for equine piroplasmosis. The directive came from the Texas Animal Health Commission.

Equine piroplasmosis is a tick-borne disease that can lead to loss of appetite, fever, anemia, labored breathing, colic and in some cases, death.

Other trainers whose stables are under quarantine are those of Kevin Favre and Brian House, whose horse that tested positive has since shipped to New Mexico.

Calhoun, who has 50 horses at Lone Star, had six horses in Thursday night's races scratched as a result of the situation. He said he is having a new test done on the horse in question because the positive came from an initial batch of testing done at Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratories.

"I'm personally going to do it, and it's my understanding the Texas Animal Health Commission is going to do it," Calhoun said.

"I think it's probably a bad test. It's probably going to come back negative, would be my first guess, from a different lab."

Calhoun had pulled blood on the horse in question in order to ship him to Kentucky, as routine procedure. He said past tests had run through the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa, and he has not had any piroplasmosis positives. The laboratory announced on May 13 that it had received USDA approvals to conduct testing for piro, making it the second approved lab in the country behind Ames.

Bobby Crozier, a representative of the state's animal health commission, was on the grounds Thursday.

"Right now, we are cooperating fully with the efforts of both the Texas Animal Health Commission and the Texas Racing Commission," said Drew Shubeck, president of Lone Star. "We are following the direction of Bobby Crozier from the TAHC, who has instructed us to place restrictions on the horses of the affected trainers. We will continue to work with the TAHC and Dr. Ken Quirk, the chief veterinarian for the Texas Racing Commission, to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

"While we work toward resolution of the problem, we don't anticipate any disruption in our racing schedule, which runs through July 18. We are also in discussions to make some adjustments in our daily training schedule to allow the quarantined horses access to the track for morning workouts."

Last fall, several horses on a working ranch in south Texas tested positive for equine piroplasmosis, resulting in restrictions on horses entering racing facilities from certain counties.