from Laurel Park
The Maryland Jockey Club Nov. 14 announced until further notice no horses will be allowed to ship into Laurel Park except those from the Bowie Training Center on a Maryland Jockey Club shuttle.
The limitations were instituted after a 2-year-old filly in Barn 1 at Laurel tested positive for equine herpesvirus Nov. 13. In addition, horses based at Laurel and Bowie are restricted to the grounds. The Pimlico Race Course stable area is closed for the winter.
“This is a precautionary measure,” said Tom Chuckas, president and chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club. “It is in our best interest to restrict the movement of horses in and out of Laurel until we see the outcome of the tests on the remaining horses in Barn 1.”
On the afternoon of Nov. 12, the Maryland Department of Agriculture placed an "Investigational Animal Hold Order" on Barn 1 pending laboratory results after the Parker’s Storm Cat filly Nin, from trainer King Leatherbury’s stable, showed neurologic signs of the virus. The filly tested presumptive positive for EHV-1, but the blood samples sent to the University of Kentucky were inconclusive, so additional samples were taken Nov. 14.
The hold order limits all movement into and out of Barn 1, pending further testing. None of the other 29 horses are showing neurologic signs. Testing will continue in the barn.
The Nov. 14 announcement forced 38 horses to be scratched from the day’s nine-race card, and another 29 shippers will not be allowed to race Nov. 15. The MJC racing office attracted 87 entries on the overnight for the Nov. 19 nine-race program, which were taken Nov. 13.
“Everyone is being affected financially, but you can’t keep track of the movement of horses that come off the farm or another training center,”MJC racing secretary Georganne Hale said. “Entries will be short, but we are trying to keep this situation confined.”
The Maryland racing community faced an outbreak of the virus in early 2006 when three horses at Pimlico and another at Laurel were euthanized, while three live racing cards at Laurel were cancelled due to a lack of horses as racetracks in neighboring states barred horses from running in Maryland.