by Ken Lowe, Charles Town HBPA President
The terrible tragedy and loss of 29 Thoroughbreds at three private barns near Charles Town Races will forever remain in the memory of local horsemen and horsewomen. I have never witnessed such a horrible site - but as we all worked our way through the next nine or so hours in taking care of the surviving horses, kittens and goats while responding to the news media and others, a spirit of unity by the horsemen and horsewomen, Charles Town staff and management, emergency services, and many more was witnessed.
As always, firefighters and emergency service personnel were extraordinary. The corporations of Charles Town Races and the city of Ranson were always on-site, and the Mayor of Ranson remained all day. Governor Joe Manchin had key staffers on the scene offering to help with local veterinarians, and Southern States delivered complimentary feed for the horses. The Charles Town Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (CTHBPA) had hay and wood shavings delivered with the cooperation of racetrack employees, and track management opened a barn for the surviving horses to be housed.
The ability to come together in this time of need to help the horses and all the individuals involved went beyond words and was an example of how I wish things were all the time. It really showed the true spirit of horsemen helping horsemen.
If you would like to assist the horsemen in this crisis the information is below.
Monetary donations should be sent to:
Charles Town HBPA
PO Box 581
Charles Town, WV 25414
Make checks payable to: Charles Town HBPA (write “Fire Fund” in memo line).