Horses belonging to Dogwood Stable and Legacy Stable survived a large fire at the Aiken Training Track in Aiken, S.C., Dogwood's Jack Sadler confirmed July 20.
The blaze destroyed a large part of the barn that housed 21 Thoroughbreds—a mixture of 2-year-olds and yearlings—along with a few Quarter Horses and a stable pony. None of the horses were injured and no people were injured by the flames, although worker Victor Sambrano was hospitalized for precautionary measures due to shortness of breath associated with asthma and possible smoke inhalation.
Fire destroyed the office, tack room, many of the stalls in the barn, and some adjunct paddocks. Four fire stations responded to the blaze.
Sadler, Dogwood vice president of 37 years, said trainer Ron Stevens will relocate the horses to a nearby barn.
"It's a tragic situation but it could have been much worse," Sadler said when reached by phone at Saratoga Race Course
in upstate New York. "When I last talked to them, the fire had not been completely extinguished but was very much under control. I've talked to some very reliable sources down there and they all assure me that everything is fine.
"It was by the grace of God, actually, that there was a wedding getting ready to take place nearby, and a lot of people were parking near the barn right around the time the fire began, so there were a lot of people on hand to help remove horses from their stalls and get them to safety.
"As far as what do we do with the horses, that's not a problem. There's plenty of stall space surrounding them and it is available immediately. We really feel like Aiken has come out to support us."
Dogwood, the racing partnership founded by Cot Campbell that recently merged with Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, campaigns 2013 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Palace Malice
, a son of Curlin
who is in training at Saratoga with Todd Pletcher while pointing for a start in the July 27 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II).