There has been an outbreak down under
SYDNEY, Australia - Racetracks across Australia were all but shut down Saturday, the country's richest horse race is in doubt and losses could total more than a billion dollars after an outbreak of equine influenza.The losses suffered by owners probably can't be recouped. If I recall correctly, very few race horses are covered by insurance. Horses like Barbaro are an exception.
The highly contagious equine virus was discovered in 11 non-racehorses at the Centennial Park complex adjoining Sydney's Royal Randwick racecourse. Five horses at a second Sydney facility also showed symptoms of the disease.
Racing was canceled Saturday across Australia except on the island state of Tasmania and in the Northern Territory as agriculture officials expanded to 6 miles an exclusion zone around the Centennial Park stables and banned all movement of horses within New South Wales state.
New Zealand officials later banned imports of Australian horses, and the Melbourne Cup, traditionally held on the first Tuesday in November, was in danger of being postponed.
In 1986, an equine flu outbreak in South Africa forced that nation's racing industry to close down for five months. Melbourne's leading trainer, David Hayes, said Saturday that the Melbourne Cup may need to postponed by a month.
Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that knocks any horse out of action for two to three weeks with a fever, hacking cough, nasal discharge and tiredness. It can be fatal in foals and virtually all horses exposed to the virus become sickened, making it particularly dangerous — and costly — for the racing community.
Last weekend, officials in Japan shut down racing in that nation because of equine flu.
In the days my father was a horse owner, I only know of two instances of a horse dying or getting seriously hurt. A broodmare Dad owned named Legs, died shortly after giving birth to a colt. Our top horse, Fast Clip, in 1972 had bandages or wraps applied to tightly to his legs cutting off circulation for a short time. This could have destroyed the horse's racing career or even killed Fast Clip, but Clip survived.
Equine flu is not a threat to humans, but people in the industry can spread the disease. A quarantine is mandatory, but even then losses could be severe.
Linked to- Adam, Leaning Straight Up, Third World County,