07/10/2002 12:00AM

Two mares killed in stall fire


LEXINGTON, Ky. - A pair of mares died Monday night at Keeneland's Thoroughbred Center training facility in Lexington after a stall fan apparently ignited a fire in their stalls.

The fire was contained and no other horses were killed. There were no serious human injuries in the fire, which started just before midnight.

The two fillies - an 8-year-old Religiously mare named Darling Doll and a 5-year-old winner by Meadowlake named Hilary Lindh - were in trainer Mark Taulbee's barn.

A fire department investigator told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the two mares' stalls were near the point where a box fan apparently overheated and ignited straw. Box fans are commonly used to cool horses during the summer months.

Seventeen other horses from the same barn were saved when volunteers helped get them out of their stalls.

The Thoroughbred Center training facility, located on the north side of Lexington on Paris Pike, is about 10 miles from Keeneland Race Course.