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West Nile Claims Mare Quick Nip

The 5-year-old was euthanized on Aug. 10 at Golden Gate Fields after having contracted the virus.

August 27, 2004|Bill Christine | Times Staff Writer

A 5-year-old mare, whose career ended in July because of a knee injury, was euthanized earlier this month after having contracted West Nile virus, the California Horse Racing Board announced Thursday.

Quick Nip, who won seven of 20 starts and earned $115,000, was given a lethal injection at Golden Gate Fields on Aug. 10, the racing board said. Three days later, the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory at the University of California at Davis confirmed that the mare had been infected with the virus.

The racing board said that Quick Nip was the first known horse to die of West Nile virus at a California track.

Mark Glatt, who trained Quick Nip for her last two races after claiming the Kentucky-bred mare from trainer Steve Knapp for $12,500 at Hollywood Park on May 30, said that the horse received a West Nile virus booster shot while she was in his care. The virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, is not contagious and cannot be transmitted by horses to other horses or mosquitoes.

In her last start, on July 9, Quick Nip finished sixth in a race for $8,000 claiming horses at Hollywood Park.

"I gave the horse away after she got hurt," Glatt said.

"She was to be bred next year."

At a meeting of the state racing board last month, Ronald Jensen, the board's equine medical director, said that 26 horses had been infected with West Nile in California and 11 had died. Jensen said that the virus had been discovered in 34 states.

"The majority of horses at California tracks are believed to have been vaccinated," Jensen said in July.

Dead birds infected with West Nile have been found at Santa Anita and Los Alamitos, the quarter horse track in Orange County.

Although Glatt said Quick Nip had been vaccinated, a statement from John Harris, chairman of the racing board, indicated that her death could have been avoided.

"It is a tragedy to lose a horse in California that could have been saved with a proper vaccination program," Harris said. "I urge all trainers, owners and veterinarians to be very diligent in their health programs. Regardless of how one acquires a horse, it is important that the new custodian keep all vaccinations up to date."

Glatt and John Xitgco were the co-owners of Quick Nip when she ran fifth and sixth in two races at Hollywood Park. Before those starts, she had won two races in a row for Knapp at Hollywood. Early in 2003, she won three races in a row for Knapp after he had claimed her from trainer Mike Mitchell in January 2003.

"I did what I was supposed to do," Glatt said. "I can't speak about what happened when the horse was with other people.

"One thing you also don't want to do is over-vaccinate a horse."

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