McPeek says his Saratoga horses are healthy after EHV scare

McPeek says his Saratoga horses are healthy after EHV scare
Photo: Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire

The 30 horses that trainer Kenny McPeek has stabled at Saratoga – including Eclipse winner Swiss Skydiver – are healthy and show no symptoms of Equine Herpesvirus-1 after a filly in the barn tested positive for the virus last week.

In a statement released Monday, McPeek racing said it was notified about the positive test on Thursday, and that in accordance with state rules and regulations, the New York Racing Association and the New York State Gaming Commission placed Barn 86 at Saratoga Race Course under a precautionary quarantine until further notice.

A statement released by NYSGC on Friday stated, “in accordance with established protocols, all horses in Barn 86 have been placed under quarantine for 21 days, where they will be monitored daily for fever and other signs of illness. During quarantine, these horses will not be permitted to train among the general horse population or enter races. As an added precaution, please be advised that owners will not be allowed in Annex Barns (85 and 86) until further notice."

The mandatory 21-day quarantine is retroactive to Sunday, July 11. McPeek Racing said its 30 horses were stabled across the aisle and down the row from the infected filly, but that they are automatically included in this quarantine.

McPeek's horses have been and will continue to be monitored daily for fever and other signs of illness. Immediately after being informed on Thursday afternoon, the McPeek Racing staff began necessary and standard precautions and biosecurity measures to prevent their barn from contamination.

The unnamed, unraced filly, who is trained by Jorge Abreu, was sent to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital on Sunday, July 11, after developing a fever. She was subsequently tested for a number of potential ailments, and a positive test for EHV-1 was detected on the afternoon of Thursday, July 15. The filly began treatment immediately and is improving under the care of Dr. Luis Castro DVM.

During the quarantine, daily training is continuing for McPeek’s horses with workouts from 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. on a closed track. No definitive timeline is available for when training and normal operations can resume for McPeek. This decision is ultimately in the hands of Dr. Anthony Verderosa, the director of NYRA’s State Veterinary Department.

"While we’re bummed about this news, we're very fortunate to have a full barn of healthy horses. As long as I have been doing this, I have seen all kinds of stuff,” McPeek said. “I have seen a racetrack freeze up and you couldn’t train for a month. What are you gonna do? You just take a deep breath and deal with it the best you can. We will be sure to keep everyone updated."

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