Turfway Barn Quarantined Pending Test Results

by Tom LaMarra and Leslie Deckard

A barn at Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky was placed under quarantine Dec. 21 after a horse showed signs of suspected equine herpesvirus, a contagious upper respiratory and neurological disease. Test results were expected Dec. 23, at which time a decision will be made on whether to extend or end the quarantine.

Horses in Barn 26 are not permitted to train or race. The barn houses more than 40 horses under the care of several trainers. Chuck Simon trains the affected horse, a filly.

"This horse has never had any respiratory problems or a temperature," Simon said. "She was having a neurological problem. It could be quite a few things--equine herpesvirus is just one of them."

Kentucky Horse Racing Authority executive director Jim Gallagher confirmed the quarantine is in place. He said officials with the state Department of Agricultural have been on the scene to investigate and monitor the situation.

"There was a horse with signs of being paralytic," Gallagher said. "It was taken off the grounds late (in the morning of Dec. 21) and shipped to Hagyard-Davidson-McGee (in Lexington). There's no confirmation yet. We won't have the test results until (Dec. 23)."

Gallagher said two security guards are stationed at Barn 26. "Everybody at Turfway has been extremely cooperative," he said.

Rusty Ford, equine programs manager for the Department of Agriculture, said the 3-year-old filly showed signs consistent with equine herpesvirus. Her clinical signs included recumbency (inability to rise), rear limb ataxia (incoordnation), and lack of bladder control, he said.

Ford and Kentucky State Veterinarian Robert Stout were on their way to Turfway the morning of Dec. 22.

Turfway could arrange for special training hours should the quarantine be extended. Other trainers in the barn were preparing to take containment measures if necessary, according to reports.

Earlier this year, Churchill Downs in Kentucky and Prairie Meadows in Iowa put quarantines in place because of EHV-I.

Kimberly S. Herbert contributed to this story