Kentucky Governor Eases VS Restrictions

(from Lone Star Park report)
Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher issued an emergency regulation late Thursday changing the restrictions on Texas livestock entering Kentucky that were imposed because of a vesicular stomatitis (VS).

The emergency regulations will allow livestock from most of Texas, including horses from Lone Star Park, to enter Kentucky under certain conditions.

Governor Fletcher's emergency regulation amends the 1998 law that resulted in a ban of all livestock coming into Kentucky from states affected by VS.

"I have signed an order that minimizes the impact of the ban on the Kentucky livestock industry while maintaining adequate protections for Kentucky animals," Governor Fletcher stated in a press release.

The ruling paves the way for Kentucky horsemen to reconsider shipping their horses to Lone Star Park for Monday's sixth annual Lone Star Million. In order to return to Kentucky, horses must have a negative VS test within the 30-day period preceding entry into Kentucky.

"This is extremely positive news," said Jeff Greco, Lone Star general manager.

Greco said that officials in Lone Star Park's racing office were "working tirelessly" Thursday evening to communicate the news to Kentucky-based horsemen.

"We're hopeful that we might be able to add a runner or two to our races," Greco said.

A Tex Sutton charter flight is scheduled to depart from New York on Friday morning and stop in Kentucky to transport some out-of-state participants to Dallas for Monday's Lone Star Million , a series of seven stakes races cumulatively worth $1 million. Another flight is scheduled to transport California-based runners on Saturday.

On Wednesday, Texas Racing Commission veterinarians completed examinations of 1,450 horses stabled at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. None showed signs of VS.

VS can affect horses, cattle, pigs, and occasionally, sheep, goats and deer, causing blisters to form in the animal's mouth or along the hooves.

On May 19, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed that three horses on a ranch in a remote and sparsely populated area near Balmorhea, Texas, had clinical signs of VS.

All livestock on the affected ranch, located approximately 480 miles southwest of Lone Star Park near the New Mexico border, will remain quarantined for several weeks.

Greco said that all horses that enter the Lone Star Park stable area will be examined by Texas licensed veterinarians to eliminate concerns about VS.