Virus creating disquiet at Caymanas Park – race day postponed after low number of entries

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – Reports reaching this website indicate that an illness as yet unidentified but said to be a virus, has been spreading quickly across the Caymanas Park property, affecting several horses domiciled in the stable area.

On Wednesday last (February 26) the promoting company, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited, formally announced that because of this illness enough entries for tomorrow’s race meeting were not received, and the company had no choice but to postpone the card to next week Wednesday, March 4. Nominations for the March 4 race day will be taken tomorrow, with scratch time set for Monday, March 2.

The Wednesday meeting, although going through with its 11 races, was heavily affected by the illness/virus as there was an abnormal amount of late non-starters. Seventeen nominated runners were declared as late non-starters, with at least 14 being officially listed as sick as a result of the illness.

One trainer, who spoke with this publication, informed that the illness has been active over the last 10-14 days and has affected at least 10-12 of his horses.

“What I have seen is that nearly all the affected horses at my stables are not eating. Some have a fever and all are listless in their movements.

“I have been treating the horses with this illness which I believe to be a virus based on the advice of the veterinarians, and the good thing is that the horses are responding fairly quickly, although it does impair their preparation for racing assignments.

“What I do know is that future race programmes are going to be affected because of this illness or virus,” the trainer said.

The trainer went on to say that it was not unusual for for horses to have these symptoms at this time of the year.

“Over the years, I have noticed that horses in the January – February period of the racing year are affected by an illness carrying the same symptoms. The difference now is the amount of horses affected. Usually you have two or three horses affected, now you have many more and that is cause for concern,” the trainer stated.

Consultant veterinarian at the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), Dr St Aubyn Bartlett, confirmed the symptoms as put forward by the trainer.

“At this stage the cause(s) and nature of the illness affecting horses at Caymanas Park is not known to us.

“What we have been doing is gathering blood samples from the affected horses for testing here in Jamaica. In addition, some samples have been sent abroad. At this time, we are awaiting the results of these tests.

“I can confirm that the symptoms are horses not eating as they are accustomed to, plus some of the horses are affected by a fever.

“All is being done at this time to keep, especially trainers, aware of the situation as we await test results,” Dr Bartlett shared with this website.