Storm Rips Roof Off Oaklawn Barn; No Horses or Humans Hurt

Storm Rips Roof Off Oaklawn Barn; No Horses or Humans Hurt
Photo: Jeff Coady/Coady
Wind damage to Oaklawn barn.
When a squall line ripped through Hot Springs, Ark. Thursday evening at 7 p.m., the results "raised the roof" of Barn 25 in the Oaklawn Park stable area, depositing it largely on Barn 28 and a pair of unsuspecting trucks.

The severe storm was a fast-moving electrical storm with winds exceeding 50 miles per hour. It was the wind that lifted the upper portion of the roof of Barn 25, sending it careening across the road to Barn 28. A sub-roof under the top roof remained in place, protecting the horses in Barn 25. Trainers James Garroutte and Darin Huff share the barn.

"It's just the hand of God that had the roof bounce off in such a fashion that it wrapped around Barn 28 instead of invading the shedrow," noted track security head Charlie Evans. "There were people in the sleeping rooms on both sides of the barn, but no one was in the shedrow so no one got hurt."

All the horses checked out fine. "The horses seemed to be pleased that all the attention was being paid to them after that event," Evans quipped. "We know we're very lucky that it wasn't a whole lot worse."

Trainer Danny Whited, who stables in Barn 28, had damage to his truck when the roof from Barn 25 fell on it.

Training went on as usual on Friday morning and the Friday racing program was set for its usual first post time of 1:30 p.m.

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