06/19/2013 1:46PM

Woodbine: Travel, quarantine restrictions eased after negative tests for herpesvirus


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Tests conducted Monday for the equine herpesvirus have come back negative on all horses located in Barn 1 and Barn 3 at Woodbine, Adam Chambers, manager of veterinary services for the Ontario Racing Commission, said Wednesday.

The horses in Barn 1 and the for-hire ponies, which have been barred from working in the mornings, must remain within the confines of the Woodbine backstretch until further notice.

But the Ontario Racing Commission has lifted restrictions that have prevented all other horses from exiting the grounds, effective immediately.

That development will be particularly good news for Fort Erie, which relies heavily on Woodbine-based horses to fill its cards and had to cancel its first scheduled Monday program of the season this week.

Remaining at issue is when horses here will be allowed to cross the border into the United States, which falls under the purview of the Canada Food Inspection Agency.

“I’ll try and make some contacts there, and I’ll have to set up a meeting,” Chambers said.

The negative tests from Monday have led to the complete lifting of a quarantine on Barn 3, and the horses there now can rejoin the general population during training hours after being restricted to separate sessions since last Saturday.

The horses in Barn 3 were quarantined after it was determined that a stable pony may have been in direct contact with horses from Barn 1.

Five horses in Barn 1 tested positive for the virus, resulting in one death. Another horse was sent to the equine clinic at the University of Guelph and three others remain in the barn after testing positive.

All Barn 1 horses remain quarantined, but most now can train in a separate training session. The horses remain confined to the barn.

“They’ll all be retested on Friday,” said Chambers, adding that if all horses in the barn come back negative, the quarantine can be lifted next Wednesday, June 26.