Laurel Park canceled racing for Friday, Saturday and Sunday after the Maryland Jockey Club was informed Thursday evening by Maryland State Veterinarian Dr. Michael Odian that a horse at Pimlico has tested positive for the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1). The horse had been isolated for 72 hours prior to the positive test. In a statement issued by the Maryland Jockey Club Friday afternoon, the suspension of live racing at Laurel Park has now been extended through Apr. 4.
The news would have impacted fields for the races which were already set for this weekend, thus forcing the cancellation. The decision was made in conjunction with the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen, the release said.
“This is a stressful situation and we are working our way through it,” said Craig Fravel, TSG Chief Executive Officer of Racing Operations. “It's not in our DNA to cancel racing, but we live a world where caution is the better part of valor. We continue to appreciate everyone's cooperation during this time.”
In a release issued by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Friday, “There are currently 26 horses that tested positive for EHV-1, and all of them are being housed in three barns at the former Bowie Training Center. Because those barns are spaced well apart, each is being treated as a separate quarantine zone. Another 11 horses are suspected, but not confirmed, of having the virus.”
It continued, “When four barns at Laurel were first quarantined Mar. 8, officials employed a 14-day quarantine and protocol that required two negative test results, according to Maryland State Veterinarian Dr. Odian. Currently, it is now a 21-day quarantine and protocol that calls for only symptomatic horses or those with a temperature of 101.5 degrees or higher to be tested. Depending on the results of 37 tests scheduled to be run Mar. 26, the earliest the quarantine could be lifted at Laurel is Apr. 17. At Pimlico, the date is April 12 if there are no further positives. The release of horses from Bowie will be on a barn-by-barn basis.”
Laurel is currently racing a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday schedule. They were forced to cancel Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 13-14 due to winter weather, and Friday, Mar. 12 racing due to EHV-1 concerns.