On the recommendation of the Kentucky State Veterinarian’s Office, horses stabled at Hoosier Park will not be allowed to enter the barn areas of any Kentucky racetrack or public training facility until further notice.
Hoosier Park Racing and Casino officials took precautionary measures Sept. 12 and placed 59 horses in quarantine when symptoms of the contagious bacterial disease Streptococcus equi, also known as strangles, was suspected in one Thoroughbred stabled at the Anderson, Ind., facility. Hoosier Park is located about 160 miles north of Churchill Downs. All horses stabled in that Hoosier Park barn have been quarantined and are not allowed to mix with the general horse population at the track until test results are returned from the lab. If the test returns a positive identification of strangles, all quarantined horses will undergo mandatory testing for the disease.
“Based on the lack of information we have right now toward determining the extent of the outbreak, our position is to safeguard the Kentucky tracks and training centers,” said Rusty Ford, equine programs manager for the state veterinarian’s office. “A trainer could ship a horse to Hoosier Park, but he has to understand the risks he is taking. They could not come back unless precautions and arrangements have been made to mitigate the spread of contamination.”
Ford said the state veterinarian’s office has worked with a private training facility in Kentucky that wants to send a horse to Hoosier Park to race. The horses will ship to Hoosier Park, race, and immediately come home. Once the horse comes back, it will be put in isolation on the training center grounds for several weeks or until transmission of the disease is no longer a concern.
Turfway Park opened its fall meet Sept. 9 and runs through Oct. 8. Kentucky Downs is running live Sept. 19, 21, 26 and 28, and Churchill Downs will conduct its fall meet from Nov. 1–29.
Hoosier Park officials are keeping in constant contact with state and track veterinarians monitoring the incident.