Breeders' Cup officials said it's far too early to discuss the probability of the World Thoroughbred Championships having to move from Lone Star Park this year because of an outbreak of vesicular stomatitis in western Texas.
VS is a viral disease that occurs sporadically in the United States, usually in southwestern states. The last VS diagnosis before May 19 was in Texas and New Mexico in 1998. VS was diagnosed in three horses at a ranch in Reeves County, roughly 500 miles from Lone Star near Dallas.
Kentucky already has banned the import of horses and other livestock from Texas until 30 days after the final case confirmation. In 1998, the ban lasted roughly a month and a half.
The situation has created some problem for horses that ship in and out of Lone Star, currently open for live Thoroughbred racing.
Jim Gluckson, senior director of event communications for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup, said Breeders' Cup is in contact with health officials in Texas who are monitoring the situation. The event is scheduled for Oct. 30, more than five months from now.
"Our intention is to try to run the event at Lone Star Park this year," Gluckson said. "It's really premature to speculate on anything happening at this point. There is no exact timetable."
Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. told Daily Racing Form
formal negotiations on a host-site switch would begin in mid-July if the VS situation isn't resolved.
Gluckson said Breeders' Cup would consider alternatives "if the situation presented itself." In 1996, the event was pulled from Woodbine in Canada in June because of labor issues but was brought back to Woodbine after the situation cleared up in a matter of days, he said.
Lone Star, owned by Magna Entertainment Corp., has scheduled a special Breeders' Cup Thoroughbred meet from Oct. 1-31. Work on temporary facilities to accommodate the Cup began last year and will continue when the current meet ends in July.