Barn Fire At Belmont Claims The Lives Of Two Horses

Two horses are dead after a barn fire at Barn 60 at Belmont Park on Tuesday evening. According to the New York Racing Association (NYRA), security responded to reports of a barn fire at 6:05 p.m. and was assisted by backstretch employees in the removal of 58 horses stabled there with trainers Wayne Potts and Jeffrey Englehart.

The Elmont Fire Department responded, and witnesses said the fire was extinguished quickly. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation by the New York State Fire Marshal and Nassau County officials.

The horses killed by the fire were both trained by Potts. Their identities were not released NYRA, which was still in the process of notifying connections as of Tuesday evening.

Surviving horses from both trainers were scattered around the Belmont backstretch, housed temporarily in barns that had extra space. Trainer Raymond Handal, who bases out of Barn 41, said he saw a social media post from fellow trainer Robert Falcone Jr. who sounded the alarm about an active blaze. He immediately called Falcone.

“He said that they need help and he just hung up the phone,” Handal said. “It was like something out of a movie. It was horrible.”

Handal and his assistant grabbed lead shanks and ran to Barn 60, but found the fire was already contained and most horses were en route to temporary stabling. Handal began helping bed down stalls in Brad Cox’s barn, where he estimated 20 horses are being housed. Several horses did run loose for a period of time, Handal said, but as far as he was aware all were captured without injury.

“Everybody from the racetrack came there,” he said. “Every assistant and trainer you can think of was there moving hay, water buckets and straw.

“It’s so scary. When I heard it was Barn 60, it’s just across the tunnel from me, and it really puts things into perspective.”

Handal was especially grateful the fire was handled so quickly since there are neighboring barns located very close on either side which could have become endangered also.

Sources say the horses in Barn 60 had been checked at evening feed time, just over an hour earlier, and all had been well in the barn.

No humans were injured in the fire.

“The tragic loss of both horses will be deeply felt by the hard working women and men of the New York racing community, who dedicate themselves to the sport and to the care of these equine athletes,” said Dave O’Rourke, NYRA President & CEO. “That collective dedication and sense of community was on display this evening, when the heroic and selfless response of so many prevented further loss and saved the lives of dozens of horses.”

The post Barn Fire At Belmont Claims The Lives Of Two Horses appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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