Early on Sunday morning, 10 racehorses that were on their way to New York were killed in a fiery crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. The trailer that the horses were being hauled in hit a concrete barrier near Trenton, New Jersey, and burst into flames, according to the New York Times. A New Jersey state trooper confirmed to the newspaper that the accident occurred around 3 a.m. in the northbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike in East Windsor.
The cause of the crash has not been determined yet.
Christophe Clement, who helped guide Tonalist to a 2014 Belmont Stakes victory and was the trainer of the horses, released a statement on Twitter:
“We are all devastated by the news and heartbroken — we are working to understand what happened,” Clement wrote on Twitter.
The trailer was operated by Sallee Horse Vans. The company’s owner Nicole Pieratt told the racing news website BloodHorse that the drivers were treated for smoke inhalation and were released from the hospital shortly after.
One of the horses that perished in the crash was Under the Oaks, who was sired by 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Under the Oaks recently finished in sixth place in her first professional race in Florida.
Hot Mist, who was a three-year old filly that was sired by Tonalist, also died in the crash. Tonalist’s victory at the 2014 Belmont Stakes prevented California Chrome from winning the Triple Crown. Hot Mist won her debut race at Tampa Bay Downs last month.