Monday, November 5, 2012

In photos: Monmouth Park stands strong in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

Bazinga Rules is cozy and safe in trainer Tim Shaw's barn at Monmouth Park
 In the wake of the devastating superstorm Sandy, Monmouth Park in Oceanport, NJ stands strong. Horses and humans weathered the winds and flooding, and now crews are cleaning up in the aftermath.

Since I live just a few miles from the track, I received many inquiries from people who were concerned for the safety of the horses and humans at Monmouth. On Monday morning, I visited the track and photographed buildings, barns, and the surrounding areas.   
Most barns were able to shelter horses in the storm, but about six barns were evacuated due to flooding and flood damage.  Before the storm, horses from those barns were moved to higher ground, and all horses are warm and dry. Damage to the barns is under evaluation.
The track surface needs to be evaluated, so all training at the track is cancelled for the year (Monmouth is open for simulcasting).  For their daily exercise, horses play in round pens, walk with their grooms, and jog the shedrow under tack.
Part of the fence around the track was damaged in the storm.
A week after the storm, people at the track are still cleaning up the branches, debris, and leaves around the barns.
The track is about a mile from the ocean. At the height of the storm, this building at the stable entrance flooded past the window sills.
Inside the building, desk drawers are still filled with flood water.
The offices in the building suffered flood damage, and are still drying out.
In the summer, Monmouth Park's parking lots are filled with spectators' cars, but today, rows of utility trucks fill the lots. The lots are beehives of activity, and trucks from all over the United States are coming and going, working hard to bring power back to the houses and businesses of hurricane victims.
There is a steady stream of trucks driving in and out of the parking lot as they are deployed to different parts of the Jersey Shore.
In the parking lot across the street from the grandstand, trucks were loaded and filled with supplies.
The spacious parking lots are a perfect place for a large-scale relief operation like this.

Water and many other critically-needed supplies are being distributed as part of the relief effort.
Tents in the parking lot serve as a place for utility workers and first responders to rest.
Tractor trailers deliver supplies to the tents in the Monmouth Park parking lot.
Several boats safely weathered the storm in the Monmouth Park parking lot.
Residents post these notes of encouragement and gratitude for the hurricane relief effort workers and volunteers.
To help with the hurricane relief effort, please visit the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund:

 Volunteers in New Jersey are being coordinated through an emergency response hotline, 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397). Alternate numbers, for when the hotline isn’t staffed, include 609-775-5236 and 908-303-0471 or e-mails can be sent to


Horses and Hope 2013 Calendar
With the help of Gina Keesling of HoofPrints, my 2012 debut calendar contained over 100 photos of auction horses. Thanks to the support of horse lovers all over, it raised nearly $40,000 for One Horse At A Time, helping hundreds of horses in need directly, and untold others indirectly through increased public awareness. Now that we have one calendar's worth of experience to draw upon, the 2013 version promises to be even more exciting, even more creative, and as always, inspirational and positive.  

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