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Racing canceled at Laurel Park this weekend and next after positive test for equine herpesvirus at Pimlico

The Maryland Jockey Club canceled racing cards at Laurel Park for this weekend and next after a state veterinarian revealed Thursday evening that a horse at Pimlico Race Course had tested positive for equine herpesvirus.

The news of an EHV-1 case at Pimlico followed a cluster of positive tests at Laurel Park, where multiple barns have been under quarantine since March 8.

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“As a result of the positive test, and as a proactive measure to protect the horse population in the state of Maryland, horses currently stabled at Pimlico will not be allowed to ship to Laurel Park until a full quarantine is lifted at both properties,” the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association said in a news release.

The tracks had previously been treated as a single quarantined facility but will now be treated as two separate quarantine zones until restrictions are lifted. The new hold on shipping between the tracks made planned weekend race cards untenable.

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On Friday, the Jockey Club extended the racing shutdown through the first weekend in April as track officials work to contain the outbreaks. No horses will be allowed to ship into Pimlico or Laurel.

The horse that tested positive at Pimlico had been isolated for 72 hours before the result was confirmed, the MTHA said.

Equine herpesvirus can cause severe neurological and respiratory problems. One horse that tested positive at Laurel Park was euthanized after failing to respond to treatment, the Maryland Department of Agriculture said.

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