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Hawthorne Backstretch Update, Friday, Novmeber 16 - 9:00 AM
Hawthorne Backstretch Update, Friday, November 16 – 9:00 AM
This morning we received results back on the pair of horses that were under observation in Barn E on the Hawthorne backstretch. The horse that deceased on Wednesday, November 14 along with the horse that was moved into isolation in Barn K2 both tested positive for EHV-1. With the precautions that are in place, we have asked that 6 horses be moved into the isolation area within barn K2 for further monitoring. The sole purpose of isolating these horses is to be able to monitor these horses, along with allow the 1,800 plus remaining horses that are healthy to continue racing.
Horsemen need to understand, this is a virus that we do not have a vaccination for and do not know a cause for how it began.
We have numerous questions being asked in regards to EHV-1, the timeframe and the process involved. There have been numerous disinfecting and hygienic precautions put into place to allow those healthy horses to control this outbreak. This continues daily. The disinfecting of the paddock, starting gate, pony equipment, etc. is done between every race.
We do have six horses that are in isolation being monitored while we have a vast majority of horses able to race.
Unfortunately, with these additional positive horses, the first question is when horses can ship out. Currently we do not know. This is under the determination of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, not Hawthorne, not Dr. Folker or any practicing veterinarian.
We are very concerned about limiting this exposure and spread. All of the research that has been done by every expert has procedures and precautions, but there is no concrete solution.
Most important to everyone involved is the health of the horses on the backstretch. Everyone is in agreement on this. Next is being able to determine the steps necessary to control the outbreak of this virus.
In all of the research done regarding EHV-1, this is not a virus that is passed via training or racing. There would be more of a concern if horses were locked into barns and unable to leave their stalls. Horses are exposed to EHV-1 in so many different ways. If horses were unable to leave their stall, they would still possibly be exposed to EHV-1 as well as any other possible injuries they could sustain while not being able to leave a stall.
We know there are concerns from everyone and we are trying to best handle this in the best interest of the horses on the Hawthorne backstretch. This is a difficult situation for all parties. We are worried about the livelihood of our horses and horsemen. This is an industry that employs 30,000 people in the state of Illinois. We are taking all of this into regard.
Most important, we ask for the continued cooperation of all on the Hawthorne backstretch. We ask that the trainers, vets, grooms, hotwalkers and anyone who may be in contact with a horse maintain proper hygiene. We will continue the disinfecting procedures in regards the daily racing operations.