Horses from Belmont Park and Laurel Park will not be allowed on the grounds.
Following the news of equine herpesvirus-1 positives at both Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., and Laurel Park in Baltimore, Md., Oaklawn Park announced Jan. 21 that horses stabled at either track will be prohibited from entering the Hot Springs, Ark., grounds until further notice.
The first case of EHV-1 was reported by the New York Racing Association after an unraced 3-year-old trained by Linda Rice from Belmont’s Barn 44 tested positive Jan. 9.
NYRA placed the horse in an isolation barn immediately after the first positive test was revealed at the Cornell Ruffian Equine Hospital, where the horse was treated for a fever and what was described by officials as “a mild respiratory issue.”
All horses in Barn 44 were then placed under quarantine and barred from racing at Aqueduct Racetrack or training with other horses.
Subsequently, the Maryland Jockey Club issued a ban of three horses housed in Barn 44 that were scheduled to run in the Jan. 20 Fire Plug Stakes at Laurel.
A follow-up test of the initial affected horse returned positive Jan. 19, which resulted in an extension of the precautionary quarantine at Belmont.
Sal Sinatra, president and general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club, issued a statement Jan. 20 that a horse who shipped to Laurel tested positive for EHV-1.
The horse was removed from the grounds and the barn he was stabled in was placed under quarantine. A follow-up test is scheduled for Jan. 23. Plans call for quarantine restrictions to remain in place until Jan. 30 if the horse should test positive a second time.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture and University of Pennsylvania also reported a horse transported from a Baltimore County farm to the New Bolton Center was euthanized Jan. 18 after testing positive for EHV-1.
“(On Jan. 16) a horse that had been hospitalized for an unrelated medical issue developed signs compatible with equine herpes myeloencephalopathy and tested positive for equine herpesvirus,” a release on the New Bolton Center’s website stated.
The release also stated: “The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has traced and quarantined horses suspected of having been exposed to the virus that had already left New Bolton Center prior to the diagnosis of EHM at that location. In Pennsylvania orders of special quarantine have been posted at premises that received these potentially exposed animals to control the spread of this disease.”
The Maryland Department of Agriculture has urged caretakers to watch their horses for any neurological symptoms and to monitor for fever.