Fire Kills 4 Prized Yearlings

Yesterday morning, eight horses, including seven Thoroughbreds, were killed when a fire broke out at the Spooky Hollow Racing farm in Kentucky. Four of the dead were yearlings slated for the Keeneland September sale. The tearful owner, Clara Fenger (a vet, no less), says (to WKYT) that three of those four were uninsured; that, coupled with the loss of a year’s worth of income, “will most likely put them out of the horse business.”

photo credit: WCSH
photo credit: WCSH

Alison Walker, owner of a neighboring stable, sympathizes (WLEX-TV), “It’s income. It’s your livelihood, you know, it’s not just about the animal it’s more than that.” Actually, Ms. Walker, it’s only about the income, the livelihood. When you cry for dead horses that were to be sold in seven months’ time, it’s not because you loved them.

13 Comments

  1. Again Patrick, facts and truths reported here at HW….one does not part with an animal one loves.

  2. I dont get what your angle is, you obviously detest horse racing, yet you follow it intensely acting as the crypt keeper logging every casualty. I bet you were the kid in High School that couldnt make the team, so instead you were the statistician. What is so wrong with people that choose to make their living in the horse industry. Yes, dammit it is an industry! And there is good and bad in all industries. Who are you to judge this woman’s misfortune. Sorry not everyone is articulate in times of tragedy.

    • We “follow it intensely” to lay bare the wrongs for all to see. Racehorses are dying from “sporting” injuries every day; former racehorses are shackled, hoisted, and slashed for meat every day. Your industry wants to keep this hidden. We don’t.

  3. Also lost in the fire were four other horses, two retired broodmares (ages 19 and 29) and two riding horses, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding and a 6-year-old Warmblood mare. My condolences to Dr. Fenger.

    Yes, breeders sell animals. Gasp. Scandal.

    • I allow your condolences comment to reveal, yet again, how disconnected the racing people are. Condolences should be reserved for people who, through no fault of their own, have lost loved ones. Doesn’t apply here.

  4. What is wrong with people making their living in the horseracing industry? How about, for starters, using a living, breathing, sentient creature that feels pain and experiences anxiety…the horse…as nothing more than an object to be used for your financial gain. The racehorse is denied a normal life, is drugged indiscriminately, is raced with injuries, is handed off via a claim or purchase…or just given away…when he/she can no longer perform to your expectations, then is sent off to auction where Thoroughbreds by the thousands are purchased by kill buyers for the going price of meat. In California, one of the few states where necropsies are performed on the racehorses that break down and die, as many as 90% of those horses had PRE-EXISTING INJURIES. Dr. Rick Arthur, the CA racing board medical director stated; “It’s hard to justify how many horses we go through. In humans, you never see someone snap their leg off running in the Olympics. But you see it in horseracing.” The maiming and destruction of the horses!…THAT is what’s wrong with people making a living in this industry! It is for gambling, for entertainment…it could not exist without the gamblers. And when the horses are used-up and worn-out, they are discarded like nothing more than a used deck of cards.
    Not one horse in the racing industry ever gave his/her consent to be a part of it. To have drugs administered to them. To stand in a stall 23 hours a day. To be denied the company of a herd. To run with injuries. To be passed around from trainer to trainer, barn to barn. To stand tied, alone, at the auction…or seeking a safe corner in the auction’s loose horse pen…all the while waiting for help that will never come.
    I’ve used Jay Hovdey’s quote from a December, 2013 Daily Racing Form article before, but I’ll use it once more…as this racing enthusiast said it best when he described just what the horses were doing in the races that day, Hollywood Park’s final day; “Announcer Vic Stauffer…lapsed into a baffling recitation…even as the earnest dozen runners…were out there putting their lives on the line.” Putting their lives on the line. And you need to ask what is wrong with this?

  5. Making a living in the horse industry means the money comes first and the horse is a means to that end. Unfortunately, we have become a throwaway society and, with very few exceptions, it includes the horses. It is all about the “worth” of the horse in terms of money and the “worthless” ones including even those that made money for a while are disposable. That is the business model in the horse industry.

  6. Obviously you are speaking about yourself. For this woman who is NOT a major “big money” breeder, it was not about the money! Do you see these horses insured? And unfortunately her barn could have been fire proofed. But these things cost money, but i dont judge. You are always focused on how people are in it to make money! You have no clue how the average horse person puts so much money into their horses, they very rarely make money! What you say about people being in the biz for greed is pure nonsense.

  7. So MP, if breeding and selling foals for the racing industry is NOT her business, and she does NOT do it for money, then what DOES she do it for?…fun? Because I’m certain the thousands and thousands of racehorses that are used-up, worn-out, and tossed aside by the industry before they even reach a horse’s prime age are not having any fun.
    And again I quote Jay Hovdey from the Daily Racing Form, December 2013, regarding the horses running in a 50K starter allowance on Hollywood Park’s last day of racing; “Announcer Vic Stauffer…lapsed into a baffling recitation…even as the earnest dozen runners…were out there putting their lives on the line.” A racing enthusiast…someone employed by the racing industry…admitting the horses were PUTTING THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE. Fun for the horses?!?
    Those in racing are in the “biz”, as you put it, for one of two things…it’s their business, and lord if you have a business, you strive to make money at it!…or it’s their hobby. Business?…MONEY…those foals were going to be up for sale….unless she was giving them away for free?…doubt it. Or hobby and FUN?…a racehorse’s life and death are anything but fun.
    And oh, I HAVE a clue on how much money is put into one’s horses. I’ve got formerly disposed-of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in my backyard. They’ll never be sold (not a business venture) and they’re not asked to put their lives on the line for my entertainment (not a hobby). They are family members. Thoroughbred racehorses are never that.
    I mourn the loss of the horses, I am sick at what they must have suffered. That is the tragedy here.

  8. This is a page of dead horse porn, nothing more, and you are the disgusting equivalent of rubberneckers on the freeway, self-righteously speculating that accident victims must have been drunk or speeding.

    Are you aware that these people have a reputation within the racing industry for finding quality homes for all of their ex-racers, and keeping the ones they can’t place? Or that in addition to their yearlings, they lost two riding horses and two retired broodmares with no monetary value, family pets? They even lost their barn cat. They’ve earned the right to be devastated.

    Keep these posts coming, though. Your message is coming through, loud and clear, though it probably isn’t what you intend.

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