09/26/2004 11:00PM

Jeanne said to injure no horses


Central Florida, one of the nation's important Thoroughbred breeding and training areas, appears to have escaped the worst of Hurricane Jeanne's damaging effects.

Hurricane Jeanne, a Category 3 storm when it made landfall Sunday in south Florida, buffeted the Ocala horse country with about 10 inches of rain and winds up to 70 mph. The damage was similar to that seen after Hurricane Ivan earlier this month: fallen trees, broken fencing, downed power and telephone lines, and wind damage. Although authorities were still assessing damage Monday afternoon, local reports indicated no major injuries to people or horses.

"There's a lot of debris cleanup," said Dick Hancock, executive vice-president of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association. "People who don't have generators might have to haul water for their horses. But, as far as I know, there's been no loss of life or horses."

"It's mostly trees, fencing, and roofing materials," Crystal Fernung of Journeyman Bloodstock said of the damage. "Luckily, most people took this one more seriously than they might have last time."