The California Horse Racing Board Friday issued an advisory placing the three tracks under quarantine as one facility. Racing will continue as normal at Golden Gate, but no horses may leave those facilities and horses that enter those tracks will then be subject to EHV-1 quarantine conditions.
Royal Brass, a 3-year-old gelding trained by Lloyd Mason, "showed signs of neurological discomfort" following exercise on the track at Golden Gate Dec. 28, said track spokesman Tom Ferrall. Royal Brass was sent to University of California-Davis for testing and the EHV-1 finding was confirmed there Friday morning. Three horses entered Friday by Mason were scratched and all of his barn’s horses were to be tested. The quarantine restrictions will remain in place for a minimum of 10 days.
About 2,100 horses are affected by the quarantine in Northern California -- 1,300 stabled at Golden Gate, 600 from Bay Meadows and 200 based at Pleasanton.
Dr. Rick Arthur, the equine medical director for the CHRB, said that it does not look like the Golden Gate case is related to the current situation in Florida. Earlier in December, it appeared that some horses on a flight to California might have come into contact with the warm-bloods that may have triggered the Florida situation, but Arthur said that all of those horses have since tested negative.
"We can’t find any cross relationship at all," Arthur said Friday, "which is what made this somewhat surprising and one of the reasons we moved as quickly as we did. The horse from Golden Gate Fields is at the University of California at Davis with severe clinical signs of EHV-1."
The CHRB advisory said that the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is assisting the CHRB with its infectious disease control efforts.
Arthur said that during the quarantine, horses from the three Northern California tracks would not be allowed to travel to Santa Anita for racing. Shortly after the advisory was released Friday at about 2 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, Arthur said that the CHRB would "have to figure something out" for horses currently in transit.
Though Arthur could not speculate on how long the quarantine period would last, he said that typically the incubation period for EHV-1 is eight to 12 days. New testing procedures will allow the CHRB to obtain results much quicker than in the past, he added.
This is the first outbreak of this strain of EHV in California, Arthur said.
Debbie Arrington contributed to this article.