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8 thoroughbreds die in Kentucky blaze

8 racehorses have been killed in a barn fire behind Keeneland Racecourse in Kentucky.

The fire was spotted at around 1am last Friday (9 May) by employees at Bluegrass Airport control tower, when firefighters headed to the scene. By this time, the barn was already “pretty much on the ground”, with trees and outbuildings also in flames, according to local reports.

2 horses escaped from the blaze. Trainer Gerry Carwood, who lives nearby, woke shortly after 1am after hearing a dog barking. When he “saw red everywhere” he ran to the scene, and managed to open one horse’s stall and lead another horse to safety. He said he could hear “everybody [the horses] kicking and screaming, but smoke and heat prevented him from saving them.

The barn is on property owned by Kentucky Horse Racing Commission executive director John Ward, and leased to Mr Carwood.

Mr Carwood told American newspapers that “it doesn’t get any worse than this”.

“I spend 7 days a week, 24hr a day, taking care of them,” he said. “They are like my family.”

Lexington fire department are still investigating the cause of the fire.

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