05/21/2013 8:35AM

Trainer loses entire stable in Oklahoma tornado


Mark Lee, a Thoroughbred trainer who regularly competes in Oklahoma, lost his entire 12-horse stable in the deadly tornado that hit Moore, Okla., on Monday afternoon. Lee was based at the Celestial Acres Training Center that experienced extensive damage at the hands of 200 mile-per-hour winds. He believes a large number of horses were lost in the storm, but said one barn on the north side of the training center simply had its roof torn off and the 20 to 25 horses inside all survived. Lee lives six miles from Celestial Acres.

“I showed up a few minutes after it happened; there were mangled horses everywhere,” Lee said.

“I had one guy in the barn trying to let horses go when it hit. He survived. He dug himself out of the rubble. I have no idea how.”

Lee said the training center was pretty full, and in addition to Thoroughbreds, the facility housed mainly Quarter Horses due to the meet for that breed currently in progress at Remington Park in Oklahoma City.

Lee said there were a number of broodmares and foals stabled at farms surrounding Celestial Acres, and he believes many of those horses were lost in the storm Monday. 

Lee will work to rebuild his stable, but is now simply helping the recovery process at Celestial Acres.

The full extent of the damage to Celestial Acres, which features a five-eighths-mile training track, was not known as of Monday night. Celestial Acres is one of two businesses on a 160-acre tract of land owned by Dr. Glenn Orr and his son, Tom, said Tony Vann, a spokesperson for the family. The other business is Orr Family Farm, a popular tourist attraction that features a petting zoo, trains and a zipline.

Tom Orr is a longtime owner who has horses in training at Lone Star Park near Dallas.