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Final results are negative

October 12, 2004

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JJ's Ironman won the ninth race last Wednesday at The Red Mile, capturing the late-closing event for driver Eric Ledford, trainer Seldon Ledford and owners James Jesk and Ledford Racing, and 48 hours later, preliminary Coggins testing on the 3-year-old colt came up positive. That resulted in the shutting down of several barns at the Lexington track.

On Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 12, final test results came back negative, resulting in the relaxing of the quarantine restrictions. However, the action came a few hours too late for several trainers as a number of horses with Breeders Crown aspirations were unable to be entered due to the uncertainty of the situation.

"We got test results from the University of Kentucky's Gluck Research Center, indicating that the Western Blot, the test we were looking for, did test negative," Rusty Ford, equine programs manager for the Kentucky State Veterinarian's Office, told The Horseman. "With that information we were able to conclude the horse does not currently have an active infection. With that information...the movement of horses from the three barns that was restricted has been released and movement is being permitted out of that area with a few criteria."

According to Red Mile race secretary Nick Salvi, JJ's Ironman arrived at the track late last month with a negative Coggins test taken April 8, 2004, but blood was taken after the Oct. 6 win because the horse needed another test before traveling to Canada for the Breeders Crown.

"We've run a number of tests on this horse--there are different manufacturers of the test kits--and this animal was showing us conflicting results, that's why we were doing the extra diagnostic with the Western Blot," said Ford. "We've had the animal tested by three different laboratories. Each ran a competitive Elisa quick test, and the AGID, the standard Coggin's test. The animal showed a reaction to the AGID test."

Included among the horses that were unable to be entered into the Breeders Crown is the Joe Seekman-trained 3-year-old filly pacer Kikikatie and colt pacer Crombes Last Laugh; the Charlie Norris-trained 3-year-old colt trotter Castle Of Fortune; the Travis Alexander-trained 3-year-old filly pacer Ice Sculpture; the Dick Macomber-trained 3-year-old filly pacer So Artsi; and the Jack Baggitt-trained 3-year-old gelding trotter Uncle Vernon.

"You have to be disappointed when you have two ready to go. It's a killer," Seekman told The Horseman Tuesday morning from his farm in western Michigan. When contacted later, Seekman said he planned on shipping his horses out of Kentucky Wednesday, but only after required blood was drawn.

"We would like a blood test drawn on those animals and the destination where they are going," explained Ford. "What we are doing now is satisfying ourselves that we aren't looking at an animal that had just recently been exposed to the virus.

"Our responsibility is to preserve and protect the health of our equine population and we've done it as expeditiously as possible with assurances," Ford concluded.
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