An outpouring of support from people within the community for those impacted by the fire on Saturday afternoon at the Aiken Training Track continues to resonate loudly.
Legacy Stable leased the barns at the training facility that were heavily damaged as a result of the blaze, and one of their clients was Dogwood Stable.
The president of Dogwood Stable, W. Cothran Campbell, is among those showing his support for the community's response to the incident.
“Dogwood Stable is of course, distressed over the loss of what is often known as the 'Dogwood Barn,' but indeed is a barn operated by Brad Stauffer and Ron Stevens in the name of Legacy Stable, and which had been home for the Dogwood Stable horses for many years while they received their training here in Aiken. So it is often referred to as the 'Dogwood Barn,' but, technically, it isn't.”
The efforts of those in bringing the 24 horses to safety is something that Campbell is grateful for, but it's the outpouring of support of people within the community that has had an impact.
“It's dreadful that this barn – which has housed for many decades some of the greatest horses of all time – is virtually destroyed,” said Campbell. “Thankfully, the horses that were stabled there were removed quickly by the heroic efforts of some former Legacy employees and other horseman from nearby. ”
But it's the community's reaction during a time of adversity that has an incredible visceral depth, one of warmth and kindness.
“The outreach of Aikenites to Dogwood Stable – and more importantly to Ron Stevens and Brad Stauffer – has been typical of the community, and comparable in emotion to the joy demonstrated by Aiken when our good colt Palace Malice won the Belmont Stakes on June 8,” said Campbell. “When this tragedy occurred, my wife Anne and I were in Saratoga for the seven-week-long race meeting. We have been moved by the many messages from well wishers around the country.”
The fire itself didn't interfere with Legacy Stable's training program, as horses were back on the surface of the Aiken Training Track on Monday morning, said Campbell.
“Although we are proud of the fact that some of our finest horses have been stabled in this barn – it bears remembering that the powerful Greentree Stable was there first, beginning in the 1940s,” said Campbell. “If those stalls could talk, what stories they could tell.”