After Quarantine Debacle, Supreme Soul Is Back Home In Jamaica

After two months stuck in regulatory purgatory, Jamaican Triple Crown winner Supreme Soul is finally back home in trainer Anthony “Baba” Nunez’s barn. The horse, who had come to the United States to run at Gulfstream during the Clasico del Caribe on Dec. 8, was in a federal quarantine facility in Miami from early December to early February after a positive test for tick fever.

Nunez said the horse arrived back at his barn on Valentine’s Day after five days in quarantine in Jamaica.

“He’s slowly putting back his weight and is enjoying being around those of us that he knows who love him,” Nunez said this week.

Nunez told SportsMax TV in late January that part of the routine for Jamaican horses coming to the U.S. is to undergo a blood test for tick fever before they leave Jamaica and again before they return. Supreme Soul tested negative for the illness on the way into the States, but blood taken after his race came back positive for tick fever. According to Nunez, Supreme Soul never showed any signs of illness, and many horses in Jamaica are carriers of tick fever without actually becoming ill.

However, Supreme Soul became caught in an international veterinary protocol loop, wherein the United States could not release the horse into its general population because of the positive test, but the Jamaican government would not allow him to come back until he received a specific prescription medication, which Jamaican authorities told Nunez might not arrive for weeks. A frustrated Nunez spoke out to Jamaican media in late January, questioning the Jamaican government’s rationale in requiring medication that was anticipated to take weeks to arrive to the quarantine facility. Nunez expressed concern for the horse’s welfare, as Supreme Soul was kept in a stall for weeks on end at the quarantine facility and was not been permitted to be turned out or exercised during quarantine.

Supreme Soul grazes outside Nunez’s barn, Feb. 25

In early February however, Dr. St. Aubyn Bartlett, chairman of the Veterinary Board in Jamaica, told SportsMax that after public outcry and concerns about his welfare, the horse was retested and this time, the test was negative. As a result, Bartlett said the horse was cleared to return home. Bartlett said he suspected the positive after the Clasico “may have been a false positive.” Bartlett said as soon as the third test came back negative, the horse was turned out in a paddock in Miami while awaiting flight arrangements back to Nunez.

Bartlett declined to discuss what would happen with the expenses incurred by Supreme Soul for his stabling in U.S. quarantine – which Nunez had said in January had become significant. Had Supreme Soul stayed in Miami through March, as Nunez had been told he might, the estimated cost was $40,000.

Nunez said he’s just happy to have his horse back home again — and he believes public pressure played a role in making that happen.

“I am certain there was a quick resolution due to all the international press,” Nunez said.

The post After Quarantine Debacle, Supreme Soul Is Back Home In Jamaica appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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