EHV-1 Impacts Hawthorne Race Course Horsemen's Plans

EHV-1 Impacts Hawthorne Race Course Horsemen's Plans

Rivelli said horsemen have received good advice from veterinarians and through thorough care--Rivelli takes his horses' temperatures two or three times a day--the virus's sometimes severe clinical signs can be prevented.

Photo: Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Horsemen at Illinois' Hawthorne Race Course are trying to plan winter racing schedules but a recently extended equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) quarantine is making that difficult.

A horse in Barn 1 was euthanized Nov. 26 and a necropsy revealed the horse had EHV-1. This is the fourth horse death attributed to the disease during the Hawthorne fall meet, which started Oct. 5 and is scheduled to continue through Dec. 30.

Trainer Larry Rivelli said the quarantine has prevented him and other trainers from selling horses no longer competitive in Illinois to out-of-state connections, who do not wish to wait out the quarantine. While Rivelli said the outbreak and quarantine has cost him some money, he said these situations are part of being a trainer.

"I've learned over the years to put some money away during the good times. Horsemen need a cushion because in racing stuff is going to come up," Rivelli said. "This has been tough but it's not the end of the world. You have to adjust."

On the other end of things, Rivelli said the quarantine prevented several trainers from shipping horses to Gulfstream Park in Florida for the Claiming Crown races on Dec. 1.

The Nov. 26 positive test extends the Hawthorne quarantine until at least Dec. 24. The quarantine is required to last for 28 days after an EHV-1 positive horse shows neurologic symptoms. Tracks like Tampa Bay Downs, which currently is not accepting any horses from Hawthorne, require horses arrive with a veterinary inspection certificate showing they have not shipped from or been stabled on a premise which has had EHV-1 diagnosed during the previous 30 days.

Hawthorne assistant general manager Jim Miller said state veterinarians told horsemen in Barn 1 that no other horses have displayed any symptoms. But as a precaution the horsemen within that barn have been asked to train during later training hours for a period of seven days while the barn can be monitored.

Rivelli said horsemen have received good advice from veterinarians and through thorough care--Rivelli takes his horses' temperatures two or three times a day--the virus's sometimes severe clinical signs can be prevented.

A few horses have shipped from Hawthorne but they are required to be moved to another quarantine facility. On Nov. 23, trainer Gary Scherer received approval to ship horses to a facility in Kentucky. Permission for such moves must be granted by the Illinois Department of Agriculture as well as from the destination state's department of agriculture.

Several monitored horses at Hawthorne have tested negative for EHV-1 and have returned to the general population.

"Good news is, cases have become very sporadic and more horses are returning to the general population. Bad news is, sporadic cases still exist and are treated on a case-by-case basis," Miller said in a Nov. 28 release. "I want to thank the horsemen for their support during this meet as we have nearly 1,900 healthy horses that are able to race. We understand the need for those healthy horses to train and race. Many people are employed by the racing industry and many owners with healthy horses would like the ability to earn purse money."

Originally published on BloodHorse.com.

About the Author

Frank Angst

Frank Angst is a staff writer for The Blood-Horse magazine. An American Horse Publications three-time winner in best news story category, Angst has covered horse racing for more than a decade. Angst spent ten years at Thoroughbred Times, where he earned awards as that magazine’s senior writer and helped launch Thoroughbred Times TODAY. Besides covering horse racing, Angst enjoys handicapping. Angst has written about sports for more than 20 years, including several seasons covering a nationally ranked Marshall Thundering Herd football team.

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