Two barns remained under quarantine Jan. 4 at Beulah Park in Ohio as state veterinary officials continue to investigate possible equine herpesvirus.
Ohio State Racing Commission executive director Tom Fries Jr. said the state Department of Agriculture got a “presumptive positive” Dec. 31 from a horse stabled in Barn 24, which had been quarantined. Barn 25 was later quarantined as a precaution after a horse was purchased and moved into the barn.
A horse from Barn 24 showed signs of equine herpesvirus, and the prognosis isn’t good, Fries said. The disease can be transmitted in equines through coughing and sneezing as well as through direct contact with infected horses, feed, and equipment.
Fries said Barn 25 “could be low-risk,” and the quarantine could be lifted Jan. 7-8. Still, no horses are permitted to leave Beulah Park while the quarantine is in place, and the OSRC prefers that no horses be brought onto the grounds of the Columbus-area track.
Beulah Park begins its live 2011 meet Jan. 8. Fries said horses that are brought in won’t be allowed to leave until the quarantine ends.
“I’m cautiously optimistic we moved quickly enough and have it contained in one barn,” Fries said. “Biosecurity measures are in place, and we’ve got people on the ground to make sure (protocol is followed).”
Racetracks have placed restrictions on Beulah Park shippers pending the outcome of the tests. Among them are Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, which like Beulah Park are owned by Penn National Gaming Inc.
Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky restricted access to Beulah Park shippers effective Dec. 24. The tracks are located about 90 minutes apart, and horses regularly ship between them.
Despite the situation, Beulah Park had no problem filling races for opening day. There are 85 horses entered in eight races. No entries are being accepted from ship-ins unless they have a stall on the grounds and remain until the quarantine is lifted, the OSRC had ordered.