Friday, April 20, 2018
Sports

Virus outbreak forces Tampa Bay Downs to impose ban

OLDSMAR — From her second-level grandstand box seats at Tampa Bay Downs, Mary Jean Bonfili has a great view of the horses, the racing surfaces and the tote board. What she can't see is why her thoroughbreds are not allowed at her favorite track.

Bonfili, a St. Petersburg businesswoman, is among the horse owners whose thoroughbreds at Hawthorne Race Course have been banned from the Downs because of an outbreak of equine herpes virus (EHV-1). The highly contagious, airborne disease was originally detected Oct. 14 at the Cicero/Stickney, Ill., facility. Five horses have died, the latest one Dec. 1. Most of the nearly 2,000 horses stabled at Hawthorne have not been allowed to leave for out-of-state quarantine facilities. Hawthorne continues racing with the horses on its grounds.

"I am totally depressed," said Bonfili, whose horses don't have the virus. "I love (the Downs), and now I've got three nice horses that I can't run here because of the quarantine. Apparently, there's a 21-day gestation period on this disease. I don't understand why you should be banned if we have healthy horses."

Downs vice president and general manager Peter Berube announced Nov. 30 on the track website that Hawthorne horses would not be permitted on the Oldsmar grounds for the 2012-13 season.

"Our priorities include the welfare of our locally based population and taking the necessary precautions to prevent the virus from entering our stable area," he said.

Dr. Michael Short, veterinarian manager of the Florida Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Industry, said his office has received "hundreds of calls" over the Hawthorne situation.

"We won't supersede anything (the Downs) is doing," Short said. "I think only one person, Christine Janks, has brought her horses home (to Florida)."

He said while a virus generally runs its course, it remains in a horse's system for the rest of its life and can reactivate.

"Until (Hawthorne) has subsided with the outbreak, we're going to stand firm (on the ban) for the entire meet," Downs spokeswoman Margo Flynn said. "(The outbreak) has gone on much longer that it should have with live cases. We're protecting all the horsemen here and the horses that ship in as well."

Trainer Derek Ryan supports the Downs stance.

"You can't let (Hawthorne horses) in because they had another positive there last week," he said. "What happens if they come in and then later, a horse from Chicago comes up positive. It's March, people are looking to run in the (Tampa Bay) Derby here, and we're looking to go north. We're stuck."

MORE HORSES: Defending champion Action Andy faces six rivals in the $60,000 Pelican Stakes (Race 6, 2:58 p.m.) at the Downs.

DOGS: The $75,000 Holiday Distance Challenge resumes tonight in Races 6 and 10 at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg.

Comments

Friday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosXfinity: ToyotaCare 250 qualifying4 p.m.FS1Monster Energy Cup: Toyota Owners 400 qualifying5:30 p.m.FS1Xfinity: ToyotaCare 2507 p.m.FS1BaseballRoyals at Tigers1 p.m.MLBTwins at Rays7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMIndians at Orioles7 p.m.MLBMarlins at ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

TAMPA – Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith had surgery to repair a broken ankle he suffered in a car accident in Louisiana last week, putting his status for the start of the season in question.Beckwith was passenger in car driven by former L...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 19

Thursday’s scoreboardBaseballDixie Hollins 8, Canterbury 0Northeast 13, Lakewood 3Calvary Christian 5, Berkeley Prep 2
Updated: 4 hours ago
Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

TAMPA — How good can the Bucs be in 2018? Fans will get a good sense in the first three weeks, as Tampa Bay opens the year with three of its toughest games, all against reigning division champions.The Bucs open 2018 in New Orleans on Sept. 9 at...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

The Lightning's Victor Hedman is a finalist for the second consecutive year for the Norris Trophy, given to the top defenseman in the league. The other two finalists are Drew Doughty of the Kings and P.K. Subban of the Predators, it was announced Thu...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Turns out, Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready for the playoffs

Turns out, Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready for the playoffs

TAMPA — The second period was not even four minutes old Wednesday night when Devils right wing Patrick Maroon skated all alone toward Andrei Vasilevskiy. It was a moment that could turn a game and even a series.A goal and the score would be tie...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Shaquem Griffin: ‘Lightning is going to win the Stanley Cup’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘Lightning is going to win the Stanley Cup’

Former UCF and Lakewood High standout Shaquem Griffin understandably has been focused on the NFL draft next week in Arlington, Tex., where he is projected as a potential second-day pick.But the Lightning's playoff run  hasn't escaped his attenti...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Bucs’ home schedule leaked: Hosting Eagles in Week 2

Bucs’ home schedule leaked: Hosting Eagles in Week 2

The 2018 NFL schedule won't be released until 8 p.m. tonight, but the Bucs' eight home games were posted early — and presumably accidentally — on the team's site, showing what would be a daunting start to the upcoming season.Multiple outl...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Bay area has ‘hit show’ again, thanks to USF

Bay area has ‘hit show’ again, thanks to USF

For the first time since its season commenced, the USF baseball team enters a weekend as the Bulls' feature sports attraction.Basketball ended last month, and spring football ended last Saturday, meaning would-be baseball fans no longer have reason t...
Published: 04/19/18
The Mallex Smith effect can take effect for Rays

The Mallex Smith effect can take effect for Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Mallex Smith has style.Effervescent personality. Pop culture hipness. Sense of fashion with accoutrements.Now the Rays are going to find out if he has game.More specifically, enough game to be a front-line outfielder, even an i...
Published: 04/19/18