Thoroughbred racing in New York migrated back to Belmont Park near New York City on Friday, only to have Tropical Storm Hanna pelt the track with rain today. Sunny Saratoga seemed like distant memory. Slickers came out, and races went on, but talk turned to other threats as the storm headed up the coast toward Boston.
According to New York City news sources and the Daily Racing Form, a three-year-old gelding who shipped down from Saratoga earlier this week was euthanized today. The horse had a fever and was unable to stand.
The barn where the horse was stabled, which houses horses for several trainers, is now under quarantine and a laboratory in Kentucky is conducting tests to determine if the horse suffered from a contagious disease, such as Equine Herpes virus (EHV).
The dead horse had the clever name “Smell My Carrots”. Test results are expected Tuesday. Other horses in the barn will not be allowed to race, train on the main track, or mingle with other horses.
Many of the top stakes horses in the country are stabled at Belmont for the rich fall stakes series, however several–including Breeders Cup winner Kip De Ville and veteran campaigner Better Talk Now–are currently in Toronto for a rich weekend of racing at Woodbine. A disease outbreak at Belmont could affect the shipment of such top horses to New York. Horses stabled at Saratoga for racing through Labor Day have now dispersed all over the United States and Canada.
Except one (and surely some others): Horse of the Year Curlin stayed behind in Saratoga to train there so he is not directly affected by the Belmont situation. He will run at Belmont on September 27 in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Equine Herpes virus is a highly contagious disease that has several strains, including some mutations with neurological symptoms that make it difficult for a horse to stand or walk. Hopefully the horse was sick for some other reason.