Scratches Hit Parx Stakes Hard Due to EHV-1 Positive

A suspected outbreak of equine herpesvirus-1 at Parx Racing contributed to an extraordinary number of scratches out of four $100,000 stakes run March 8 at the Bensalem, Pa., racetrack.

Out of 16 horses that scratched, half of them would have shipped in from other tracks, including Belmont Park, Laurel Parkand Penn National.

A horse on the backside of Parx Racing showing symptoms from a possible neurological issue March 6—and later euthanized—tested positive for the respiratory form of EHV-1, which can cause symptoms such as incoordination, hind limb weakness, lethargy, and difficulty maintaining balance. Initial blood tests, according to the Daily Racing Form, were negative for EHV-1, however, so other tests are being conducted.

Parx racing secretary David Osojnak confirmed that a necropsy was being conducted on the horse “in hopes that the testing will shed some more light.” Osojnak could not be reached Tuesday afternoon regarding any updates. Jeff Matty, executive director for Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association also was reportedly in meetings all day related to the EHV-1 case as was state veterinarian Dr. Shari Silverman.

Two barns at the track are under quarantine, according to the Daily Racing Form, and all ship-ins are required to stay at Parx until the quarantine is lifted.

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Osojnak told Daily Racing Form that Tuesday was an “evolving situation.”

On Monday New York Racing Association spokesman Pat McKenna said Belmont is not was not accepting horses from Parx.

“For precautionary reasons, NYRA will not be accepting entries from Parx-based horses until the investigation is complete and the issue is resolved to the satisfaction of NYRA,” said McKenna. By Monday evening, NYRA notified horsemen it was not accepting horses from Penn National either.

The scratches hit particularly hard the 1 1/16-mile City of Brotherly Love Stakes for 3-year-olds, the one mile and 70 yards Main Line Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, and the six-furlong Society Hill Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The City of Brotherly Love was left with a three-horse field, while the Main Line started four horses, and Society Hill stakes had five in the field.

The Rittenhouse Square Stakes, run at six furlongs for 3-year-olds, had two scratches from horses shipping in—one at Penn National and one at Belmont—and started with eight horses.

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