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KY Issues Directive on Hawthorne Horses

Hawthorne barn quarantined after two horses displayed respiratory issues.

Due to an unknown illness among some horses at Hawthorne Race Course, the Kentucky state veterinarian's office has issued a directive that horses from that Illinois track not be allowed onto tracks in the Bluegrass State.

In a directive to managers of Kentucky tracks, E.S. Rusty Ford, equine programs manager for the state veterinarian's office, said the office had been unable to obtain a description or extent of the illness being reported, diagnostics that have been performed, nor a description of the measures taken to minimize spread of the illness.

Also, according to Ford, "through conversation with the Illinois State Veterinary Service our conclusion is that no regulatory intervention has been applied by the Illinois Department of Agriculture at this time."

"After reviewing the information, Kentucky state veterinarian Robert Stout is directing that until a more factual description of the illness and mitigating strategies is known, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is directing that horses originating from Hawthorne not be allowed entry onto a Kentucky racetrack," Ford wrote. "This would include disallowing horses to depart KY for Hawthorne for racing and return. Furthermore, we are asking that horses currently stabled in Kentucky that had recently been at Hawthorne (preceding seven days) be monitored closely and steps taken to minimize opportunity of exposure to our racing population until further notice."

In an email to TheHorse.com, Hawthorne assistant general manager Jim Miller said Barn A at the track was quarantined Oct. 14 after two horses housed there were having respiratory issues. He said the quarantine was imposed as a precaution to prevent the illness from spreading to other barns, pending results from tests taken Sunday.

"We just want to be cautious in the case that it is something that can spread and isolate it only to that barn," Miller said in the email. "It doesn't affect any of our horses shipping in or shipping out aside from that barn and we will know more once the test results return, hopefully on Wednesday."