Turfway Sustains Storm Damage; No Injuries Reported

Turfway Park, currently closed for live racing but home to about 700 horses in training, sustained storm damaged the evening of May 25 but no humans or horses were injured.

There were reports of a funnel cloud near the Northern Kentucky track located just south of Cincinnati, Ohio, but no official word from the National Weather Service. Severe thunderstorms swept through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, and there were tornado watches and warnings throughout the region. The storm hit Turfway at about 7:15 p.m. EDT.

Sherry Pinson, director of public relations for Turfway, said there was mostly roof damage to barns, some of which had roofs partially lifted off. There was minor exterior damage to the grandstand, though nothing that would force a shutdown of regular operations such as simulcasting. The grandstand was without power soon after the storm, but power has been restored.

Most barns with roof damage retained the corrugated underlay of the roof but lost the top layer of wood and rubber sheeting. One dormitory also lost part of its roof, so the residents were temporarily relocated.

Pinson some power lines were down and debris on paths that lead to the racing surface, so training was halted the morning of May 26. The Polytrack surface installed last summer sustained no damage.

"It could have been a lot worse," track president Bob Elliston said. "It doesn't look like we'll have to relocate any of the horses off the property. We could have trained (the morning of May 26), but the horsemen said we should just clean up. It looked like a war zone."

Temporary repairs began immediately. A damage estimate is not yet available.