Sunday, December 20, 2009

Heavy Rain Empties Barns, Dorm at Gulfstream

Gulfstream Park

Heavy rainfall in South Florida Dec. 18 forced officials at Gulfstream Park to take immediate action to protect horses and people. About 600 horses were relocated to other area stabling facilities and there was an evacuation of one backstretch dormitory.

In addition, track maintenance personnel also worked to seal the track and clear drains.

The horses moved from the 12 barns at the track were sent to other nearby locations, including Palm Meadows, Payson Park, and Calder Race Course.

"Our first concern is the safety of horses and horsemen," said track president Ken Dunn. "Once the water subsides, we can assess all individual needs to provide more specific assistance."

A release from the track said the Florida Horsemens Benevolent and Protective Association was assisting the track in providing meals for the displaced backstretch workers. Late Dec. 18, officials were also considering both on-site and off-site housing options for the dormitory residents, the release said.

Dunn said that Gulfstream officials were hopeful training could resume the morning of Dec. 19 and that once the weather front had cleared the area, an evaluation would be made to determine the damage and what needs to be done before the track opens its season Jan. 3.