A cigarette tossed by a North Carolina motorist landed in a trailer carrying six racehorses on Friday night. A bundle of hay was ignited and the young horses trapped as fire quickly engulfed the trailer. The driver of the Loraine Course Transport tractor-trailer stopped on seeing smoke and another driver suffered burns while trying to pull out the horses, all of whom were killed.
As the New York Daily News reports, one of the racehorses belonged to former New York Racing Association President Barry Schwartz. Raised in a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx, Schwartz helped fashion designer Calvin Klein build his multi-million dollar empire.
The two-year-old horses were to begin training for their first starts and had begun their journey in Florida. They were en route to Belmont Park in Long Island, NY, to begin training. They were traveling on Interstate-95 in Rocky Mount just before 10 p.m. Friday, as North Carolina Highway Patrol officials told WRAL-TV.
A Daily Mail article reports that, so far, the officers have no leads about who may have tossed the cigarette.
With the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby just around the corner on May 7th, the death of the young thoroughbreds starts the 2011 racing season on a terrible and tragic note.
Photo of a horse at Belmont Park by nakashi.
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