EHV-1 claims another horse as precautions continue to be taken at Pimlico.

EHV-1 claims another horse as precautions continue to be taken at Pimlico.

AP Photo/Don Wright

Another Horse Euthanized at Pimlico; Laurel Park Cancels Two Racing Cards

Another horse has been euthanized at Laurel Park after testing positive for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). A private veterinarian of trainer Joe Delozier euthanized General Strike Jan. 25. The 3-year-old showed no signs of improvement after testing positive for the virus Jan. 19.

Since Jan. 1, 11 horses have tested positive for the virus causing the Maryland Jockey Club to place Pimlico Race Course under quarantine Jan. 21. Three horses have been euthanized, while eight horses from Barns 5 and 6 are currently in isolation in the Detention Barn.

In connection to the virus, officials at the MJC have decided not to card live racing Jan. 29 and Feb. 5. Laurel will continue to race four days a week, on a Wednesday through Saturday schedule.

A shortage of entries, stemming from a quarantine of 500 horses at Pimlico and restrictions on the movement of Thoroughbreds in and out of the state due to EHV-1, led to the scheduling to decision by chief operating officer Lou Raffetto after discussions with Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association president Richard Hoffberger.

"We are working with a limited pool of horses and it has taken its toll on our entries," Raffetto said. "Cutting back to four days a week the next two weeks will allow us to have the quality and quantity we were accustomed to before the outbreak of the virus."

Since the restrictions began Jan. 6, the average field size has been 7.3 per race. In 21 live days in December, Laurel averaged 8.6 starters per race.

Races from Jan. 29 will be used as extras for Feb. 1. The races in the condition book for Feb. 5 will be used as extras for Feb. 3-4.

Equine herpesvirus causes upper respiratory infections in horses and is also known to cause neurological disease. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1. It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respirator for of EHV-1, which may help prevent the neurologic form.