01/22/2017 2:25PM

Turfway, Keeneland quarantine barns after positive EHV-1 test


One barn at Turfway Park and two at Keeneland are quarantined and the horses residing within them are being tested after a filly that left Turfway Park for a breeding farm tested positive for the wild-type strain of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1).

An email release issued by Rusty Ford, Equine Programs Manager for the Office of the State Veterinarian in Kentucky, said the affected filly is in isolation on a private farm in Kentucky.

Although the affected filly came from Turfway and not Keeneland, the barns at Keeneland were quarantined after officials analyzed movement records of horses shipping from the barns at Keeneland and the barn where the filly resided at Turfway, the release said. Test results from the quarantined horses at Turfway are not expected until late Monday.

The quarantine, issued early Saturday morning, temporarily restricts horses to their barns, preventing training or racing – which led to scratches on Saturday night’s card at Turfway, including The Great War, who had been the morning-line favorite in that evening’s Forego Stakes.

Wesley Ward, one of four trainers with quarantined horses in barn 27 at Turfway, said none of his horses is showing signs of sickness or running temperatures.

The wild-type strain of the equine herpesvirus is far less dangerous than neuropathogenic strain. It is endemic in horse populations, and typically produces nothing more than mild illness. Seemingly healthy horses can also test positive for it.

This latest positive test for equine herpesvirus follows positive tests at Fair Grounds in Louisiana and two locations in Oldham County, Ky., one of which was Highpointe Training Center, a facility from which horses often ship to Turfway to race.

After the discovery of the equine herpesvirus there, proactive measures were implemented at Turfway earlier this year to decrease the chance of it spreading. Because of these measures, Ford states in his email release, “we are optimistic our efforts will pay a dividend and that we have minimized risk of disease transmission on the backside.”

Even stricter protocols are now in place after the latest discovery, with Turfway requiring all ship-in horses to have health certificates from a veterinarian within 24 hours of their arrival to the track, down from the 72-hour timeframe that had been the rule.

“We want people to have a lot of confidence that things are being managed at Turfway,” said Chip Bach, the track’s general manager.

Bach said Sunday morning the quarantined horses could resume training separate from the general horse population if cleared by Ford after more testing and information becomes known.

As a result of the latest quarantine, Gulfstream Park announced Sunday it would not accept shippers from Kentucky.