VS in Texas: Breeders' Cup Moving Ahead With Plans

Breeders' Cup, which has plans to set up a "disease-free zone" to allow horses to ship in and out of Lone Star Park, is moving full-steam ahead with preparations for this year's World Thoroughbred Championships even as a vesicular stomatitis (VS) outbreak continues in Texas.

Thus far, the Texas VS cases have been located at least 350 miles away from the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, where Lone Star is located. More than 1,400 horses were tested recently at Lone Star and found to be disease-free.

Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. said staff was informed June 18 to continue the planning process for the Oct. 30 event. He said Breeders' Cup remains in regular contact with the Texas Agriculture Commission, the USDA, and the European Union (EU).

Officials are working on a protocol that would be accepted by the USDA and EU. Lone Star and the surrounding area, including Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, would be in a zone subject to surveillance. Horses would be tested and various procedures implemented to ensure their health and safety.

A similar plan was enacted in Colorado in 1998 to allow an equestrian event to go on as scheduled in the wake of a VS outbreak. Breeders' Cup officials received that protocol the week of June 14 and will use it as a reference.

About one-third of the starters in the Breeders' Cup usually come from outside of the United States, so a plan must be in place and the facility must be secure.

About the Author

Tom LaMarra

Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, has been news editor at The Blood-Horse since 1998. After graduation he worked at newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an editor and reporter with a focus on municipal government and politics. He also worked at Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times before joining The Blood-Horse. LaMarra, who has lived in Lexington since 1994, has won various writing awards and was recognized with the Old Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of the horse racing industry. He likes to spend some of his spare time handicapping races.

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