Two racehorses at Belmont Park died from a fire that broke out inside a barn at the racetrack, according to officials from the Nassau County Police Department and the New York Racing Association.
The Elmont Fire Department responded to the scene at Barn 60 shortly after the fire was reported around 6 p.m. on Tuesday night, followed by the Valley Stream and Floral Park Fire Departments along with the Nassau and New York state Fire Marshals.
Officials said three male racetrack employees suffered minor smoke inhalation and were treated at the scene. The cause of the fire still remains undetermined and an investigation is ongoing, according to officials.
Officials said 58 racehorses were able to be rescued, but the same could not be said for American Sailor and Beastie D, the two that perished.
“The tragic loss of both horses will be deeply felt by the hard working women and men of the New York racing community, who dedicate themselves to the sport and to the care of these equine athletes,” racing association President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said in a statement. “That collective dedication and sense of community was on display this evening, when the heroic and selfless response of so many prevented further loss and saved the lives of dozens of horses.”
The two horses were under the carte of trainers Wayne Potts and Jeffrey Englehart. American Sailor won the 2020 Troy Stakes race in Saratoga. Beastie D was a three-year-old Verrazano colt, according to Potts.
Potts, in a Facebook post, expressed his gratitude to the officials that rescued the 58 other horses from the fire and reflected on the lives of the two that perished from the fire.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to every single one of you that put yourselves at risk to make sure 58 horses are able to see another day,” Potts said on Tuesday. “The actions of so many this evening proved that this industry is a family with a fierce love of the horse that triumphs over anything else.”
Potts said Beastie D was “an individual with an abundance of class and potential” and lauded the importance American Sailor had in his life.
“American Sailor was apart of my family and took my operation to a new level,” Potts said. “He was the pride and joy of my stable and was the horse that took me places in my career that I had only ever dreamed of going.”