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Barn Fire Claims Five Standardbreds

Published: December 21, 2018 7:57 am ET

Last Comment: December 23, 2018 7:17 pm ET | 10 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Reports indicate that an early morning fire on Friday (December 21) has claimed the lives of five Standardbreds at First Line Training Centre outside Campbellville, Ont.

The fire broke out around 1:40 a.m., with Halton Regional Police responding to the tragic incident along with firefighters from Milton and Halton Hills.

According to CP24, 35 of the 40 horses at First Line survived. Two horses perished in the barn while three required euthanization based on a veterinarian's assessment.

The fire has been extinguished, with the cause still under investigation. Milton Fire Chief Dave Pratt did speculate as to what started the blaze.

"In my opinion, just walking around the building, there is a tractor on the outside of the building that was plugged in that had a block heater in it. That appears to me to be the source," stated Pratt. "We’ll bring the investigation team in first thing in the morning once there is light and then we’ll do a thorough investigation to determine origin and cause."

Trot Insider has learned that the fire affected a barn with horses trained by Mark Steacy. Steacy confirmed that five of his horses - three racehorses and two yearlings - passed with five others in hospital.

Here are the horses that passed in the fire:

Pearl Blue Chip, a three-year-old Somebeachsomewhere filly who earned nearly $100,000 from 20 starts. She competed on the Grand Circuit with a fourth-place finish in a $150,996 division of the Simcoe at Mohawk on Sept. 8 and a sixth-place effort in the $113,750 Glen Garnsey Memorial at The Red Mile on Oct. 6. She was slated to race on Dec. 22 at Mohawk against non-winners of $10,000 last five.

Mademoiselle Tammy, a two-year-old filly by Sunshine Beach whom Steacy also trained. She raced only five times and earned $3,333. She last competed on Sept. 10 in a division of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots and finished seventh by 15 lengths.

Rap Royalty, a two-year-old gelding by Kadabra with one win from six starts and $14,071 earned. He broke his maiden on debut July 17 at Georgian Downs with a 2:03.2 effort in a division of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots. He last raced on Sept. 20 at Mohawk where he finished seventh by 17 lengths in a division of the Grassroots.

Miss Wheely, a homebred yearling filly for Dale Larson by Wheeling N Dealin. She was nominated for the Champlain Stakes, Ontario Sires Stakes, SBOA and Simcoe Stakes in 2019.

Irma, a homebred yearling filly for Vieux Carre Farms by Explosive Matter. She was nominated for the Champlain and Simcoe Stakes in 2019.

In this time of emergency, Woodbine Mohawk Park has made available its backstretch barn area for the surviving horses. As of Friday morning, a total of 26 horses trained by Mark Steacy are currently being stabled in Mohawk Park’s Barn Eight.

“Everyone at Woodbine Entertainment was devastated to wake up Friday to the news of the barn fire at First Line Training Centre,” said Jessica Buckley, President of Woodbine Mohawk Park. “We’re grateful that so many horses survived the fire and that we can make our barn area available for the horses and the Steacy stable during this difficult time.

“Woodbine offers our sincerest condolences to all the connections of the horses lost and everyone impacted by this tragic event.”

Woodbine Mohawk Park will hold a moment of silence in memory of the horses lost ahead of Friday evening’s card of live racing.

Trot Insider will update this story throughout the day with more information as it becomes available.

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to those affected.

December 23, 2018 - 7:17 pmMy heart goes out to all

My heart goes out to all affected by this tragedy. This is very sad and many times an unavoidable occurrence. It seems during winter months more fires happen at horse farms, training centers, and with barn fires.

It is such a shame that any horse died in such a tragic manner but I do pray for those affected by the fire.

December 22, 2018 - 7:42 amBarry and I send our

debbie bird SAID...

Barry and I send our condolences and prayers to Mark, Shawn, their owners, grooms and connections.

December 21, 2018 - 11:10 pmSincerest condolences sent to

Sincerest condolences sent to the connections of these beautiful animals. Horrible nightmare.

December 21, 2018 - 7:56 pmCan't imagine what you are

Can't imagine what you are going through...a horseman's worst nightmare. So sorry for your loss.

December 21, 2018 - 7:56 pmMy Heart just sank when I saw

My Heart just sank when I saw this on the news this morning. RIP to these precious horses and condolences to all who loved them.

December 21, 2018 - 6:47 pmSo sorry for your loss Mark.

Robyn Lawlor SAID...

So sorry for your loss Mark. Thinking of all the connection during this hard time.

December 21, 2018 - 3:27 pmTo Woodbine-Mohawk media -

To Woodbine-Mohawk media - Please show the minute of silence before tonight's card on internet feed. Much appreciated.

December 21, 2018 - 2:58 pmSo sorry for your loss Mark.

Gord Brown SAID...

So sorry for your loss Mark. Couldn't imagine what everyone is going through.

December 21, 2018 - 11:06 amMy heart is breaking for the

My heart is breaking for the owners, trainers, and grooms. These horses become such a part of our lives. To everyone involved I send a warm hug and confirmation that you are in a sport that will stand behind you, pick you up and move you forward. This tragedy will bring out family, friends, and total strangers to help you through.

December 21, 2018 - 11:00 amSuch a tragedy, condolences

Mary DeLuca SAID...

Such a tragedy, condolences to all owners, trainers and connections.

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