A fiery crash on the New Jersey Turnpike in the wee hours of Sunday morning claimed the lives of 10 racehorses who were nearing the last leg of their journey from Florida to New York. The New York Times reports the group, which included two horses with "champion bloodlines," was being transported in a tractor-trailer that caught fire after striking a concrete median at 3am near Trenton. CNN reports one horse was euthanized at the scene by a vet; the others died of their injuries. The two drivers were hospitalized for smoke inhalation and released; the cause of the crash is unclear.
The Times flags the two most prominent horses among the group, both of whom were headed to owners West Point Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs: Under the Oaks was a 3-year-old filly sired by 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah; Hot Mist was a 3-year-old filly sired by 2014 Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist. West Point Thoroughbreds CEO and President Terry Finley had only good things to say about Sallee Horse Vans, which owned and operated the trailer: "We've used Sallee Horse Vans for over 30 years and they're really a great company and I know what they do from a safety standpoint and a maintenance standpoint," he said to CNN. And to the Times Union, Finley added, "First class organization. They ship everybody. Nobody has any idea what happened. That company drives horses millions of miles every year." (Read more car crash stories.)