- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2011

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A tornado smashed horse stables at the home of the Kentucky Derby but the legendary track will get back to racing Friday after events were postponed for a day.

No people or horses were hurt at Churchill Downs during the Wednesday evening storm, and its famed twin spires, grandstand and clubhouse were not damaged.

Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery said it was the first tornado to strike the 136-year-old track, which is near downtown Louisville.

The track will host a night racing event Friday after canceling Thursday’s race card.

The National Weather Service surveyed the area and determined that a tornado touched down in the barnyard, though the force of the twister had not been determined, a statement from Churchill Downs said.

Workers and trainers scrambled to pull horses from stables as the storm crumpled roofs and tossed debris Wednesday. Seven of the 48 barns and the track’s chapel were damaged.

“The people out here care more about the horses than anything,” said Susan Margolis, wife of trainer Steve Margolis. “Nobody was going anywhere” when the storms hit.

The Margolis’ barn was heavily damaged and a gaping hole was left in the roof.

“I thought we were going to find bodies,” Mrs. Margolis said.

Horses were moved to private farms, Keeneland racetrack in Lexington and to different barns at the facility, Mr. Flanery said.

“As these roofs collapsed, the horses were in the barns, and people calmly got to the horses, got them to safety,” he said.

Churchill Downs said the races canceled on Thursday would not be made up.

The track arranged to evacuate roughly 150 horses to the nearby Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center if needed, but Mr. Flanery was hopeful the remaining barn space at the track would be adequate.

Track officials were also working with the American Red Cross and local emergency management officials to provide temporary shelter for about 100 stable workers whose accommodations were damaged by wind.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide