Multiple horses tested positive at Laurel beginning March 9, but this is the first reported positive at Pimlico. Horses frequently ship between the two tracks and are often stabled at one location but run at the other. The MJC was notified of the positive on the evening of March 25 by Maryland state veterinarian Dr. Michael Odian. The horse had been isolated for 72 hours prior to the positive test.
As a result of the positive test, and as a proactive measure to protect the horse population in the state of Maryland, horses currently stabled at Pimlico will not be allowed to ship to Laurel until a full quarantine is lifted at both properties. Previously, the two properties had been quarantined as one facility. They will now be treated as two separate quarantine zones.
Racing was canceled at Laurel because the quarantine will impact the fields for the races that were already set for the weekend. The decision was made in conjunction with Maryland’s Thoroughbred horsemen, according to a statement from Dr. Dionne Benson, chief veterinarian for 1/ST Racing, which owns both Maryland tracks.
“We extend our thanks the Maryland Racing Commission, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, the horsemen at the Maryland Jockey Club, and our fans for their cooperation and understanding during this difficult situation,” the statement read.
EHV-1, from the family of the equine herpesvirus, is a common virus that can cause respiratory and neurological disease and abortion in pregnant mares. It can spread directly from horse-to-horse contact and can be passed to horses by humans from the use of contaminated clothing, tack, feed and water buckets, and equipment. The air around the horse that is shedding the virus can also carry it.