By Nicholas Godfrey
USA: Ten horses being transported to trainer Christophe Clement’s New York barn died on Sunday morning in a horrific traffic accident on the New Jersey Turnpike.
The Paulick Report reported that the horses were being transported by Sallee Horse Vans from Florida to New York when the truck carrying them crashed and caught fire at approximately 3.15am ET.
Clement, who recorded his 2,000th North American success in March, later tweeted to confirm the horses involved had been en route to his New York base.
“This morning we learned from Sallee that a van carrying horses to our barn in NY caught on fire,” said the highly respected trainer, best known for turf champion Gio Ponti.
“We understand both drivers were admitted to hospital, and that all horses have passed. We are all devastated by the news and heartbroken – we are working to understand what happened.”
According to Paulick, news reports said the vehicle struck the median in the truck lanes on the Turnpike before being fully engulfed in flames. The identity of the horses who perished in the fire has not been released.
Transit company Sallee Horse Vans issued a statement. “While our drivers attempted to rescue the horses, it was not possible,” read the statement.
“Both drivers have been taken to the hospital, one driver has been released, and the other is being treated for smoke inhalation.
“Two horses escaped; one died outside the van, and the other had to be humanely put to sleep.”
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