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
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
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
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.