All humans, equines safe after barn fire at Old Friends

All equine residents and human workers at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility were reported safe Saturday morning after Georgetown Scott County Fire Departments responded to a fire last night in one of the barns.

The two horses that were in the barn were quickly and safely evacuated and Old Friends said in a release that no horses or people were injured. The barn that caught fire was a hospital/quarantine barn and was deemed “a total loss”, Old Friends announced via Twitter.

"It's a testament to our amazing staff," Old Friends president Michael Blowen said in a statement. "The horses in the barn got out without a scratch and everyone is all right, and that's all that matters.

“The fire crews have been great and we're grateful for all of their help today.”

Georgetown Scott County Fire Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire. More information will be released when it's available.

Founded in 2003 by Blowen, Old Friends has approximately 70 horses at its Kentucky facility and attracts an estimated 20,000 visitors each year who come to get up close to such racing legends as dual classic winners Silver Charm and War Emblem and Grade I winners Game On Dude, Rail Trip and Amazombie.

The barn fire caps an emotionally trying week for both Old Friends and the racing community as a whole. Last Sunday, Old Friends announced that champion Gulch, hero of the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Sprint and oldest living Breeders’ Cup winner, had been euthanized at age 32 due to complications from cancer.

This past week has also seen the passing of pensioned Lane’s End stallion Kingmambo, who was euthanized at age 26 due to infirmities of old age, while Claiborne Farm was doubly hit with the loss of top sire Arch due to an apparent heart attack on January 20 and champion mare Storm Flag Flying, who died at Rood & Riddle January 22 due to complications during foaling.