Edited press release
The quarantine imposed on Barn 17 at Turfway Park Friday, Jan. 30, was lifted Saturday morning after samples from a horse euthanized at the track Friday tested negative for equine herpes virus and other communicable disease.
In an e-mail message to track president Robert N. Elliston and state staff members, E. S. “Rusty” Ford, equine programs manager for the Kentucky State Veterinarian’s Office, reported, “Testing conducted by Steve Sells, UK LDDC Molecular Biologist, to determine if an equine herpes virus was the cause for the abnormal neurologic presentation have concluded. Multiple specimens were tested by PCR with each proving negative for EHV.
“With this evidence, the Kentucky State Veterinarian’s Office is satisfied that the cause of illness was not herpes. Additionally, with no other evidence presented suggesting this animal was suffering from a communicable illness, the State Veterinarian’s Office has no reason to continue the Hold Order placed on Barn 17 yesterday.
“Horses currently housed in Barn 17 on the Backside of Turfway Park are free to resume normal racing and training activities,” Ford concluded.
“We appreciate the quick response of the state team and Dr. Sells,” said Elliston. “We were able to obtain results early this morning only because Dr. Sells chose to go to his lab at the University of Kentucky last night to begin the test. We appreciate his extra effort that allowed such a quick resolution to this worrisome matter.”
The barn had been immediately quarantined and samples taken when the horse, Rock House Rocket, began to exhibit symptoms suggestive of EHV-1. The horse was later euthanized.