Horse virus prompts quarantine at Turf Paradise

Posted at 4:53 PM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-29 01:29:17-05

A horse herpes outbreak has become deadly at Turf Paradise in Phoenix.

The general manager says they are doing everything they can to stop the virus from spreading.

One horse has been euthanized and two are in quarantine. No horses will be allowed in or out of the racetrack for several weeks. Races will continue during the weekend.

“Nothing is even comparable to what we're dealing with now,” said manager Vincent Francia. “We immediately went into very aggressively disinfecting everything, the stalls, and the barns of all the other horses.”

The three horses came from Sunland Park in New Mexico, where more than a dozen horses have been infected.

One trainer there euthanized three of his eight horses this week.

“It was my choice to put them down,” said Brent Swopes. “They can be carriers and they can spread it to other tracks six months to a year later.”

In the equine world herpes is extremely contagious. Humans can't be infected, but can pass the virus to other horses.


The horse euthanized at Turf Paradise could not stand up straight on her own.


“It’s heartbreaking,” said Francia. “I've been in the business for 25 years and I'm still not used to that.”


The two horses have to stay quarantined for 21 days. They are being monitored and checked every four hours during this developing situation.