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Hawthorne Backstretch Update, Sunday, Novmeber 18 - 1:00 PM
Hawthorne Backstretch Update, Sunday, November 18 – 1:00 PM
This afternoon we had a meeting with the grooms and hotwalkers to explain proper cleanliness and hygene on the Hawthorne backstretch. In regards to transmission of the EHV-1 virus, cleanliness amongst those in contact with horses on a daily basis is of the utmost importance. While we ask of trainers to notify their staff to maintain proper hygiene, a notice, in both English and Spanish was handed out to the help as well. Additionally, the ITHA has been providing latex gloves for use within barns as well.
In the past week a lot has happened in regards to recovering horses and some additional new cases that arose. First, for the recovering horses. The horses within Barn 8 will be tested on Monday morning. These are all horses that originally tested negative out of Barn A and were moved to separate isolation within Barn 8. The Monday test will be the 21 day test for those horses. Should they all test negative once again, those horses will be allowed back into the general population and allowed to race.
For the horses within Barns A, along with the horses in the East –end isolation of K2, those horses had tested positive in the past and have now tested negative will also approach their return to the general population. The one thing research has shown regarding EHV-1 is that once a horse is exposed, it builds an immunity to the virus and will not get the virus again. These horses that originally tested positive, have since shed the virus and have now tested negative.
Where we stand now is that this week we are looking at the possibility of having 60 plus horses return to the general population. At the same time, we do currently have seven horses in the West-end isolation of Barn K2 that are being monitored daily. There is security at that entrance of K2 round the clock and access to that location is limited. We do get daily updates from the veterinarians on those horses and all horses on the backstretch, with the fullest concern for those horses in K2 while continuing racing. Our hope is that within the next week we see improvement of all of the horses within K2 while returning those 60 plus horses back to their original barns and into the general population.
In the time since the initial outbreak, a lot has taken place with a lot of expense for all involved. Hawthorne has spent hundreds of thousands on testing, staff, disinfectant and lost racing dates. There are many reasons as to why we continue to race. We understand the amount of jobs that are on the line and we know that there are many healthy horses on the backstretch. We understand there are cases that may arise and they are handled on a case by case basis. These cases have diminished since our initial outbreak in Barn A but they still exist.
For those who ask for the cessation of racing/training, there would be a whole new risk of sickness/injury that could arise if horses were to be isolated to their stalls with no chance to leave their stall to walk/train/race. We know there is a lot of inconvenience for all involved. This is a tough virus to deal with, but we are doing everything under the guidance of the veterinarians and Department of Agriculture.
As we have stated before, the importance of proper cleanliness/hygiene is extremely important. We have the trainers are vigilant with their staff and all of the disinfecting protocols in regards to the paddock, starting gate, and pony people will remain in place. Again, if horsemen do have questions, please contact your practicing veterinarian or the state vet.
Jim Miller – Assistant General Manager, Hawthorne Race Course.