Officials have determined an outbreak of equine herpes has occurred at Hawthorne Race Course and a quarantine has been put in place, but racing will continue as scheduled.
Following discussions with state veterinarians, the Department of Agriculture, and consultants from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the decision was made to put a quarantine of the affected barn in place to combat the disease, which has manifested in the neurological form in two horses. The quarantine is restricted to Barn A.
"We’re treating the horses in there and monitoring the horses in Barn A. Horses can still ship in," said Hawthorne assistant general manager Jim Miller. "It doesn’t affect racing. Racing still continues."
The disease claimed the life of one horse in Barn A and has affected at least one other. Three other horses are being monitored.
Miller said all 70 horses in the barn will be tested for the disease. Horses with a clean bill of health will be allowed to train during hours set aside only for them.
The track plans to take every precaution during races, including disinfecting the receiving barn every day, the paddock between every race, and the starting gate. The receiving barn is located at the opposite end of the backstretch from the affected barn.
"It’s unfortunate," Miller said. "But you want to be safe rather than sorry."