Tragic fire hits Oklahoma racing stable

bold-lover-090-3.jpgAt least 44 horses were killed this past weekend in a barn fire that struck the stables of Eddie Willis, a racehorse trainer and ApHC member in Caney, Oklahoma. Of four horses that initially survived the fire, two have already been put down due to complications. One two-year-old that did survive is Downtown Bull, owned by Victoria Ennis. However, Victoria lost a promising two-year-old stallion, Bold Lover (photo), who was entered in this year’s Graham Futurity. See Victoria’s note about Bold Lover below.

Katie and Steve Neal, also Appaloosa race breeders, have reportedly lost a horse in the fire. We’re waiting for word on a horse owned by John Diediker which was in training at the facility.The cause of the fire was not immediately known, though faulty wiring or an unattended space heater are being suspected.

The Appaloosa Horse Club family expresses our deep sorrow and sympathy to all who lost horses in this tragic fire. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

In memory of “Bold Lover”
Bold Lover, aka “Wilbur,” our two-year-old in his second month of race training died in a fire at the Willis racing facility the night of January 19. He and 43 other horses perished in the blaze which burned too fast and furiously to save them.

“Wilbur” was a beautiful stallion by I Love Willie and out of Supreme Champion producer Zevi Puddin. Just beginning his career, he was paid up in the Graham Futurity and the Strike It Rich Stallion Futurity to be run later this year. His full brother “Ibelieveicanfly” was the Supreme Champion two-year-old in 2004. As a yearling, Wilbur did get to show at the 07 World, placing in the top ten for Hunter in Hand Yearling Stallions with handler Dawna Harwell.

We had many hopes for him as a successful race horse, a top hunter/jumper, then breeding stallion. But it just wasn’t meant to be.

Saint Francis of Assisi is the Patron Saint of the animals. We are praying to him asking that he keep Wilbur and all the other horses lost in the fire securely with him in horse heaven.

Categories: People /Racing


  1. crystal Thompson Said,

    January 21, 2008 @ 1:38 pm


    I”m so sorry about your loss. I met you a few years back at Sundowners and I know how much your horses mean to you. You can bet he is racing in Heaven.]


  2. Sarah Said,

    January 22, 2008 @ 11:23 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about this tragic loss. It makes it worse when a young, promising animal is involved. Prayers are going out to all involved.

  3. pheasant run racing quarter horses Said,

    February 1, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

    So sorry to here.What a tragedy Was trace of smoke lost in the fire also? We send our deepest sympathy.

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