Trainer Says Pimlico Horse Had Equine Herpesvirus

By Sandra McKee
Trainer Charles Frock said Monday night that his horse News Reporter, a 5-year-old-gelding that was euthanized Jan. 2 at Pimlico Race Course, was a victim of equine herpesvirus.

"A state (Maryland Department of Agriculture) official said my horse had a very high A and B blood count of 2500 that indicated he definitely had the herpesvirus," said Frock, 62, from his Westminster, Md., farm. "What I want to know is where it came from and how it is picked up."

News Reporter had been a normal acting horse through training Jan. 1, but was found totally paralyzed in its stall on the morning of Jan. 2, and was euthanized, the trainer said.

In addition, News Reporter, five other horses were showing signs of infection by Jan. 5, and were moved into isolation. The rest of the horses in Barn 5, the barn News Reporter called home, were put under a "Hold" order by the MDA and are not being allowed to leave the track. They can do their daily work, but not at the same time as other horses.

Blood tests were taken from all the horses in Barn 5. Frock said another of his horses was showing signs of a fever Jan. 9.

"It's nothing to panic about, but you've got to get to the eye of it immediately," Frock said.

On Jan. 5, Maryland Racing Commission veterinarian Dr. David Zipf said the disease can be spred over 35-feet by a horse sneezing, but added, "In real life, all the cases we've seen at different tracks have been from intimate contact, like nuzzling."

But Frock said this second horse of his did not nuzzle the deceased horse or any of the other five horses who have shown signs of the disease. "And this horse was 20 stalls away from the first horse," he said. "This is a very serious situation."

A Maryland Jockey Club spokesman said a meeting is planned for Jan. 10 with track and state officials.

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