Local Horsemen Have Limited Options after Hawthorne's Quarantine Ends

The EHV-1 quarantine is no longer in effect at Hawthorne Race Course. And many local horsemen would seek out of town pots for their horses, looking for a place to run, a check to potentially cash, a schedule to keep.

But the quarantine has limited where horsemen can run. Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans won't take them.  A track statement made during the quarantine on December 5 remains the policy.

Due to the recent outbreak of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1) at Hawthorne Race Course, horses that have been based at Hawthorne will not be admitted onto Fair Grounds property until further notice. This restriction includes all horses that were stabled at Hawthorne during their period of quarantine whether they are currently located there or not.  Fair Grounds regrets that this decision had to be made but the health and welfare of the horses stabled at our facility is our foremost concern. 

And what about Turfway Park near Cincinnati?  Here's what the Kentucky Department of Agriculture said on January 3, a few days after Hawthorne ended its 2012 Fall meet.

Therefore[sic], horses currently stabled and horses stabled during the past 30 days at Hawthorne are ineligible for traveling interstate into Kentucky without approval from Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Tampa Bay Downs in Florida made its stance firm as well.  Vice president and General Manager Peter Berube announced Nov. 30 on the track website that Hawthorne horses would not be permitted on the grounds for the 2012-13 season.

A few locally based horses (ROMACACA, NIKKI'S SANDCASTLE) have appeared at Gulfstream, but raced on opening weekend before the quarantine. Chris Block has some horses (including LEADING ASTRAY) on the grounds.  But Gulfstream also has forbade Hawthorne-based runners from entering, according to Daily Racing Form.

That would leave Oaklawn Park in Arkansas as a final place for locally based conditioners to run.  But in a statement from the Arkansas Racing Commission via Oaklawn Park, you'll have to wait more.

“Our ban on horses from Hawthorne is still in effect,” Lokanc said. “The length of the ban is based on the last positive test of any horse at Hawthorne. Based on what we know now, the earliest that horses from Hawthorne could be allowed at Oaklawn is after February 3. And that date is subject to change pending further developments.

Following the end of the ban, horses from Hawthorne will only be allowed on the grounds of Oaklawn with the specific approval and permission of the Arkansas Racing Commission Veterinarian and will be required to provide additional medical records and proof of negative testing."

-- Dr. Joseph Lokanc, Arkansas Racing Commission State Veterinarian

As such, local trainers will be playing the waiting game until Oaklawn's aforementioned date, or the February 15 opening of Hawthorne for its Spring meet.

Filed under: Hawthorne, horse racing

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