People have donated more than $2,300 to a hastily arranged fund for two current and former North American Racing Academy students who lost their belongings in Wednesday's fire at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington.
The online "Shana and David Help Fund" was set up on GoFundMe to benefit Shana Triplett and David Mussad, who lived in apartments in a building at Keeneland's horse training center that was heavily damaged by the blaze Wednesday.
Donors had sent in $2,320 as of Thursday, according to the GoFundMe.com site.
Mussad is a student at the North American Racing Academy in Lexington, and Triplett is a former student there, according to Remi Bellocq, executive director of the academy. Bellocq said both lost many of their possessions in the blaze, which struck about 8:15 a.m. Wednesday.
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"I lost everything," Mussad said Thursday. "I lost my winter clothes; I lost a watch my father gave me; I lost my MacBook computer."
The computer is a particularly serious loss, Mussad said, because he needs it for online courses he's taking at the racing academy.
Mussad, 24, said he's staying temporarily with former jockey Chris McCarron, a founder of the North American Racing Academy. McCarron's daughter set up the online fund, according to Bellocq.
"Thank goodness, David was working in one of the barns at The Thoroughbred Center when the fire started," Bellocq said. "From what I understand, Shana's pet dog woke her up. As you can imagine she was pretty shaken up. Her parents picked her up and took her home to North Carolina yesterday."
An unattended candle caused the fire in the multipurpose building that also housed offices and a tack and leather shop, according to a Lexington fire official.
Bellocq said Keeneland has offered support for Mussad and Triplett, and the Red Cross has provided some assistance to help them buy clothes.
The Shana and David Help Fund can be found at: http://www.gofundme.com/lihdl0.
The North American Training Academy, which was established in 2006, is part of the equine program at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington. Academy students must also be enrolled in BCTC.
The academy offers a variety of programs, including training for those seeking to become professional jockeys or exercise riders, farm managers or trainers.
Mussad said he moved to Lexington from San Diego, Calif., in January to study at the racing academy.
He said he's grateful for all the offers of help, and for now is "just trying to figure out my next move."