The Preakness field will grow by one and the other races on the weekend card at Pimlico will have fuller fields due to the end of the equine herpes quarantine at Philadelphia’s Parx Racing. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has lifted the quarantine following negative tests of all horses in Barn #30 and the track isolation area. The equine herpes outbreak infected seven horses with the virus. Four ultimately died from the disease.
According to Parx Director of Racing Sam Elliott horses can ship in and out of Parx Racing ‘effective immediately’. The end of shipping restrictions will allow trainer Ned Allard and owner Gil Campbell to run Abiding Star in Saturday’s Preakness and Always Sunshine in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint on the Preakness undercard. While these are the only two horses set to ship in for Preakness Day there are a number of Parx runners entered in races on the Friday Black Eyed Susan day card including Disco Chick, Joint Return, Wolfie, Lady Forest and Previous Honor.
Pimlico was aware of the potential end to the Parx quarantine and has put special procedures in effect to protect the resident horse population. All Preakness entrants must be on the grounds by noon Thursday. Horses will be segregated from the general horse population and will stay in a temporary two-stall barn. Abiding Star and Always Sunshine will train at 5 AM on Friday and Saturday before other horses are allowed on the track. Note that these special protocols apply only to Preakness runners–apparently, Always Sunshine is being included in that group to make logistics easier for trainer Allard. Horses shipping in from Parx for other races on the Friday and Saturday card must ship in and out on the day of their race.
According to Director of Racing Sam Elliott: “Now that the quarantine is over, I expect our entries to improve. We’ll have some horses shipping in, which will help our program.” Monmouth Park in New Jersey is also an indirect beneficiary of the end of the Parx quarantine. Monmouth Director of Racing says that 100 to 150 horses that have been assigned stalls at his facility were unable to leave Parx due to the quarantine.