Pennsylvania Tracks Ready to Lift Virus-Related Quarantines

Penn National Race Course officials said they would lift the quarantine imposed on its backstretch due to equine herpesvirus March 7 provided no further cases of the virus are reported in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The Grantville, Pa., facility barred horses from other tracks Jan. 23. One horse tested positive for equine herpesvirus at Penn National, but racing secretary Paul Jenkins credited the quick work of trainer Todd Beattie from preventing the virus from spreading to the general horse population.

West End Lady, a mare trained by Beattie that raced at Laurel Park in Maryland and then was returned to her barn at Penn National Jan. 2, was confirmed positive for the virus Jan. 20. The mare was moved off the grounds of the racetrack, and Jenkins said Beattie took "extraordinary" steps to disinfect his barn and equipment.

Penn National will require a health certificate issued within the last 48 hours for horses shipped in to race or to stable. The health certificate must have the following statement: "Horses represented on this certificate of veterinary inspection have not originated from, nor been stabled on, a premises exposed to a confirmed case of equine herpesvirus, nor have show signs suggestive of these diseases, nor have exhibited a fever within the previous three weeks."

Jenkins will also require horsemen who are requesting permission to ship into the barn area to secure written permission from him.

At Philadelphia Park, director of racing Sal Sinatra has also set March 7 as the date for lifting its backstretch quarantine. Philly Park's quarantine was imposed Jan. 24.

Sinatra said he also would require a health certificate from ship-ins, and is also requiring that each horse on the grounds of the Bensalem, Pa., track be inoculated with an equine herpesvirus preventative vaccine.

There were no reported positive cases of equine herpesvirus at Philadelphia Park.