Most Horses Cleared to Leave Indiana Downs Barn

The Indiana Board of Animal Health has lifted a quarantine placed on 45 horses confined to the receiving barn at Indiana Downs.

The quarantine was put in place May 19 when two horses were suspected of having the respiratory disease strangles. Tests later confirmed presence of the disease.

Track general manager Jon Schuster said all cultures on the horses in the receiving barn have been clean for about three weeks. However, nine horses--three of which were lead ponies--returned positive tests. Those horses will undergo guttural-pouch washes and cultures, and will be removed from the grounds. Each horse will be permitted to return when it tests negative.

"The other 45 horses are free to come and go," Schuster said. "The only caveat is that no new horses can enter the receiving barn. We have some things to work through. We still can't use the barn for receiving."

The receiving barn is still under quarantine, and will be until it is properly disinfected. Those directives will come from the Board of Animal Health. Schuster believes it's a possibility the barn could be cleared for use for the last week of racing prior to June 18, the final night of Thoroughbred racing.

Indiana Downs will conduct live harness racing beginning July 1, and the track has previously utilized the receiving barn as the Standardbred paddock.

Senior state steward Gary Wilfert said the two Thoroughbreds first diagnosed with strangles have been placed on the steward's list and aren't permitted to return to the grounds at this time.