Second Barn Quarantined at Turfway Because of Virus

A second barn at Turfway Park has been quarantined because of equine herpesvirus, which was first discovered at the Northern Kentucky racetrack the week before Christmas.

One horse in Barn 27 has tested positive for the virus, Turfway president Bob Elliston said the evening of Jan. 6. Because of that, the barn, which houses 40-50 horses trained by Dale Romans and Mike Tammaro, was placed under quarantine late on the afternoon of Jan. 6.

Barn 26, where the first cases of equine herpesvirus were diagnosed, remains under quarantine. Though the most recent test results from that barn produced two more positive cases of the neurological disease, 16 horses that previously showed signs of the disease came back negative, Elliston said.

"This is what the (Kentucky) Department of Agriculture said we should expect," Elliston said. "Those affected by the virus are shedding it without it being manifested into clinical disease. And, though we only had one horse in Barn 27 (test positive), you have to quarantine the whole barn. We want to do everything we possibly can to prevent the spread of the virus."

State officials couldn't be immediately reached for comment on the latest developments.

There are no restrictions on horses that ship in or out of Turfway as long as they have current-day health certificates. Because horses in the pony barn and outriders' barn were affected by the virus, they were moved off site. The evening of Jan. 6, many horses went to the track unaccompanied, so their time on the track before each race was cut to about six minutes.

"Right now, it's bring your own pony -- B.Y.O.P.," Elliston said.

Rumors were circulating Jan. 6 that the equine herpesvirus situation could lead to a shutdown of the racetrack. Elliston said he knew of no plans to do so, and that such a decision would be made by state officials, not Turfway.

"Everything is being directed by the Department of Agriculture," he said. "We're taking their lead on this."

Though Barn 26, with more than 45 horses, was quarantined about three weeks ago, and the track raced eight straight days after Christmas, field size has remained strong. The quarantine of Barn 27 figures to have some impact, though many horses ship in to race at Turfway from other tracks and training facilities.