The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association Foundation, in conjunction with the Kentucky HBPA, presented trainer Gerry Carwood with a check for $7,000 in emergency assistance aid in the paddock at Keeneland May 22.
On May 9, eight Thoroughbreds were killed when a barn leased by Carwood and located across the street from Keeneland's stable area was destroyed by a fire.
Carwood, a native of Ireland, previously worked for trainers Eddie Kenneally and Jeff Thornberry as an assistant trainer before going out on his own about four years ago. He signed his Kentucky HBPA membership card in 2010, his first year as a trainer.
"I talked with Jeff Thornbury and Keeneland's chaplain, Bobby Aldridge, and both had high praise for Gerry, his work ethic, and his love for his horses," said Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky HBPA. "In fact, Gerry, who lives in a house next to the barn, nearly lost his own life rushing into the fire. He saved two horses just before the roof collapsed."
"I talked with Gerry and expressed the condolences of the Kentucky HBPA for his tragic loss," said Maline, who noted Carwood also lost all of his tack and equipment in the fire.
Some of the horses, who Carwood described as like family to him, were insured by clients, but others were not. Carwood did not own any of the horses, but the funds will help him buy new equipment and get back to training.
"The HBPA, both at the national and state level, has always been about horsemen helping horsemen, and this is a great example of that," National HBPA chief executive officer Phil Hanrahan said. "We wish Gerry the best."
Other horsemen also pitched in to help Carwood with a benefit at McCarthy's Irish Bar in downtown Lexington.