Tornado damage

Tornado damage

Orr Family Farm

Reported Equine Deaths Exceed 150 in Oklahoma

Count includes all breeds; horsemen to discuss moving forward after May 20 tornado.

Horsemen's groups in Oklahoma are meeting with representatives from the state's department of agriculture and veterinarians May 24 to create a plan going forward following the recent tornado that struck Moore, Okla.

Joe Lucas, executive vice president for the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma, said that more than 150 horses perished in the tornados that hit Moore and the Oklahoma City area May 20. That count includes all breeds.

Many of those horses died at Dr. Glenn Orr and Tom Orr's Orr Family Farm near Moore, which sits on the 106-acre Celestial Acres Thoroughbred training center. But Lucas said information is still being gathered from other area farms that suffered losses; a difficult process as many horsemen also are addressing family and housing needs.

"The main concern everyone has of course is the people. I can't give you names of people in need, but the human aspect of this is by far the most important," Lucas said. "But we also have to take responsibility for these horses and animals and that's what we're trying to do on our part."

Lucas appeared on the "At the Races with Steve Byk" radio show May 24 and a horse owner called into anonymously donate $10,000. Lucas said his organization of Thoroughbred owners, breeders, and trainers has received a $10,000 donation from England and a $5,000 donation from South Africa. He's seeing people pull together on the ground as well.

"There are people helping from every walk of life out here; from all over the state and all over the country," Lucas said. "It's great support. This is incredible."

Lucas said his organization and others are taking photos and noting lip tattoos on horses who were displaced so that they can be reunited with their owners. Displaced horses are being sent to area farms, equine retirement centers, and Heritage Place auctions for temporary stabling.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact the TRAO at (405) 427-8753 or the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association at (405) 216-0440.