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Hawthorne Backstretch Update - Tuesday, October 30 - 1:00 PM
Hawthorne Backstretch Update, Tuesday, October 30 – 1:00 PM
Following our meeting with the horsemen last Friday, several stated different concerns of taking all precautions necessary regarding limiting any spread of equine herpes through the Hawthorne backstretch.
One point of concern was in regards to limiting horse to horse contact via the stable/lead ponies during both mornings and on racing afternoons. While not a single stable/lead pony has shown any signs/symptoms of fevers, or anything in regards to the recent equine herpes outbreak, we have to take all the necessary precautions.
Under the directive of the State veterinarian with concurrence of the Association veterinarian, we are not allowing the use of any stable/lead ponies in the morning during training hours, or in the afternoon during races until further notice.
EHV-1 tests are being taken on all independently owned ponies that are used either in the morning during training, or in the afternoon during races. Upon the results of those tests, we will determine a timeframe for when ponies can return to work. Again, this is being done as a precaution; no stable/lead ponies have shown any symptoms during this entire time period.
As to not discriminate, this is in effect for ALL PONIES on the Hawthorne backstretch. While horsemen may have their own healthy stable pony, again we are not allowing those ponies on the track during this time period either so we may further eliminate any horse to horse contact.
Additionally, the outrider’s horses have been tested. The outriders are necessary to provide safety during the afternoon and they will be on horses which have tested negative for equine herpes. In every effort to provide safety on the track during races, we will have four outriders working each afternoon until the restrictions are lifted on the stable ponies. The outriders will have properly disinfected equipment between each race and will be able to assist a horse if necessary during a post parade, race or leading to the gate.
We know this will be a great hardship on our independent pony people but this is also currently required to continue racing. As test results are returned on these ponies and at the time when allowed by the veterinarians, those horsemen and horses will allowed to begin working again.
As further information becomes available, we will keep you updated.
Jim Miller – Assistant General Manager, Hawthorne Race Course