Updated on 09/17/2011 10:26AM

Five stallions die in Florida fire


LEXINGTON, Ky. - A fire Tuesday evening in Ocala, Fla., killed five stallions, including Grade 1 winner Traitor and popular Florida sire Darn That Alarm. The fire, the cause of which hadn't been determined by Wednesday afternoon, occurred in the stallion barn at David and Barbara LaCroix's Meadowbrook of Ocala Jockey Club farm in Ocala.

The blaze killed 1996 Futurity Stakes winner Traitor, a second-crop sire; Darn That Alarm, sire of Grade 1 winners Pistols and Roses and Turnback the Alarm; the second-crop Mr. Prospector horse Faygo; and freshman sires Reality Road and Star of Valor.

Star of Valor was the most expensive of those sires, standing for a $3,500 fee. Traitor, Darn That Alarm, and Reality Road stood for $2,500, and Faygo had a $2,000 fee.

The five stallions all died in their stalls. Other stallions in the barn, including 2000 Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Impeachment, were rescued with the help of a passing motorist. The other rescued stallions were Reprized, Wind Whipper, and Lexicon.

Neither David nor Barbara LaCroix was available for comment Wednesday, but Carol Johnson, the farm's office manager, said that Meadowbrook of Ocala Jockey Club was open for business and had temporarily moved its four remaining stallions into a yearling barn.

"We are breeding the four remaining stallions," Johnson said. "We'd like to assure breeders that have bookings to our four remaining stallions that we are doing everything we can to accommodate them."

She said that inspectors had sealed off the ruined stallion barn for investigation and that the farm's insurers had advised Meadowbrook that it could take weeks to determine the cause of the blaze.

Barbara LaCroix, quoted by the Ocala Star-Banner, said it had cost about $1 million to build the stallion barn and breeding shed, which covered 18,000 to 20,000 square feet. The complex was built in 1990.

Firefighters arrived within four minutes of getting the call, fire department spokeswoman Heather Danenhower told the Star-Banner, but had trouble extinguishing the growing blaze because there were no fire hydrants near the complex.