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A fiery crash of a tractor-trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike early Sunday killed 10 racehorses, including two that were sired by champion horses, authorities said.

The trailer, which was en route to New York from Florida, caught fire around 3 a.m. after striking the center divider near East Windsor township, CNN reported.

Nine of the horses died as a result of their injuries. A 10th horse was euthanized by a veterinarian at the scene, New Jersey State Police Sgt. Jeff Flynn told the network.

The two truck drivers were hospitalized, the trainer of the horses, Christophe Clement, told The New York Times. Clement guided Tonalist to victory in the 2014 Belmont Stakes.

The trailer had been operated by Sallee Horse Vans, the newspaper reported. The company’s owner, Nicole Pieratt, told BloodHorse, a horse racing website, that the drivers were treated for smoke inhalation and released from the hospital.

“We are all devastated by the news and heartbroken — we are working to understand what happened,” Clement wrote on Twitter.


At least two of the horses who died had champion bloodlines and recently raced in Florida, the Times reported. They were owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, which is based in Saratoga Springs, New York; the company confirmed the horses’ deaths.

One of the horses was Under the Oaks, a 3-year-old filly sired by 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. On May 30, Under the Oaks placed sixth in her debut at Gulfstream Park in South Florida.

Another horse that perished was Hot Mist, a 3-year-old filly sired by Tonalist. She won her maiden race May 16 at Tampa Bay Downs.

The two horses were owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, CNN reported. CEO and President Terry Finley said the horses had spent the winter in Florida.

“It appears as if it was a tragic, tragic accident,” Finley told CNN. It’s a rare situation and everyone is shaken up by it.”