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Hawthorne Backstretch Update, Sunday, Oct. 28 - 6:00 PM
Hawthorne Backstretch Update, Sunday, October 28 – 6:00 PM
Today marks two weeks since the isolation of Barn A began. While we have had quite a bit going on in that timeframe, we feel we are starting to turn the corner. Although we faced the unfortunate situation of having two horses succumb to the neurologic strain of equine herpes, we have had no further neurological symptomatic horses. All horses which had tested positive seem to be responding well to treatment.
Today was the first day where horses which had tested negative for equine herpes and had shown no fever had been allowed to train. The training period went without incident and will be in place until all horses are released from isolation for equine herpes. By allowing these horses which have tested negative to train, we can begin the process to reintroduce them into the horse population. That process is not short, as there will still be numerous tests for equine herpes taken from these horses, but we are making strides in the right direction.
On Friday morning, we had a meeting with our horsemen to explain what the process has been thus far. I would like to thank the horsemen for their understanding through this as many of us had not seen this situation before. Many questions have been asked and continue to be asked and we will make ourselves available. I want to compliment Dr. Folker as she has been very attentive to this situation, working throughout this whole process while still conducting her daily duties as well. The assistance from our veterinarians on the backstretch has also been of great help. Having resources to answer questions is what often helps most.
With all we have gone through the last two weeks, we have determined that we need to continue racing, but have also noticed a drop off in entries. While we want to give our horsemen every opportunity to race, we also don’t want to tax our population to a point where we cannot fill races. Because of that, we have requested of the ITHA and Illinois Racing Board, and have received approval to reduce racing by one day per week beginning in two weeks.
We will be cutting 7 days from the racing schedule, all Wednesday cards, beginning November 7 and going through December 19. Knowing that horsemen want to get a final start into their horses, we will run Wednesday, December 26. We have two Wednesday cards that are in condition book #2. Those cards for November 7 and November 14 will have ALL races listed as extras for the Thursday cards following with the intent of running as many of those races as properly fill.
While we are losing some racing opportunities, we know this has been an inconvenience for all of our horsemen. In an effort to help some, we will be raising all purses, beginning with the November 8 card through the remainder of the meet. All maiden claiming, starter, and claiming races will all receive a $1,000 per race increase and all maiden allowance, allowance and optional claiming allowance races will be increased by $2,000. We thank you again for working with us through this tough situation but we will get through it. I will keep you updated as information arises.
Jim Miller – Assistant General Manager, Hawthorne Race Course.