04/23/2012 1:51PM

Toner horses at Fair Hill after South Carolina van accident


Four of the five horses who survived a harrowing equine van accident last week in South Carolina are now bedded down at the Fair Hill training center in Maryland, with the other one expected to join them later this week.

The horses, all trained by Jimmy Toner, are owned by two partnerships managed by Justin Nicholson. Bold Hawk, an 8-year-old gelding who won the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby in 2007, and Crying Lightening, a listed stakes winner in Europe who is 0 for 2 in the United States, are both owned by Ninety North Racing Stable, a recently formed public syndicate.

Empiricist, a 4-year-old maiden by Empire Maker, and Candy Feat, an unraced 3-year-old half-brother to the multiple stakes winner Masseuse, are managed by a private partnership known as AJ Suited Racing Stable.

The fifth horse, Much Rejoicing, who won an overnight stakes at Belmont last May, is owned by AJ Suited and Phillips Racing. She remained at the Edisto Equine Clinic in South Carolina, where all the horses were taken following the accident on April 18. The horses were vanning to Maryland from south Florida.

A sixth horse, Orange County, owned by Anne Paulson and who raced once for trainer Barclay Tagg, had to be euthanized due to injuries suffered in the accident.

Toner, speaking Monday at Belmont Park, said Bold Hawk required some stitches and will likely miss an overnight stakes he was scheduled to run in at Belmont on May 4. Toner said Crying Lightening and Candy Feat could make their next starts as scheduled.

Toner said Much Rejoicing suffered cuts to her hind legs that required stitches and was kept in South Carolina a few extra days for observation. Toner was looking to run Much Rejoicing in the Skipat Stakes at Pimlico on May 18, but will likely have to skip it.

Toner said the fact the horses and the humans who traveled with them were not injured any worse “is a miracle.”

In the stall outside Toner’s office, resides Winter Memories, who shipped up from south Florida on an equine van the same day the aforementioned horses did. Winter Memories is scheduled to make her seasonal debut in the $150,000 Beaugay at Belmont on May 5.

“She’s doing super,” Toner said. “She had a good winter, has breezed good. I couldn’t ask her to be coming along any better than she has.”