Weekend testing done by both a local laboratory and the University of Illinois have come up negative for horses quarantined at Belmont Park that were suspected of having been exposed to the bacteria that causes a contagious respiratory disease called "strangles."The entire barn 60 was locked down when Lady Libby was suspected of having the disease. She was isolated and then sent to Cornell University for further testing and treatment."The problem with her was that she was treated with antibiotics," said Mike Lakow, racing secretary for the New York Racing Association. "Her tests so far are negative, but her medication may have affected the tests' results."
Lady Libby exhibited a high fever and other signs late last week believed consistent with strangles. Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex, who was expected to arrive at Belmont Saturday, remained instead at Pimlico, where he worked five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 at Pimlico Wednesday morning. Trainer Tim Ritchey would like to bring the horse to town on the coming weekend, but said he would await further developments. Meanwhile, with 11 days to the 137th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-olds, NYRA personnel have been working to set up a safe and bio-secure environment."We are fixing up a barn, which right now is barn 14, that will be completely secure and open to all shippers coming in for races on the Belmont Stakes Day card," Lakow said. "There are about 30 stalls there, which will be power washed, disinfected, painted and made totally secure."