Rain, or shine, Cot Campbell of Dogwood Stables has been coming to Legacy Stables every day for years.
"I'm out there every morning, parked my car in the same place, and walked out there," Campbell says fondly.
"I have poignant feelings about it and I hate coming back to Aiken and not seeing the barn there where we've flourished for so many years," he says.
Hundreds of miles away in New York Cot Campbell is heartbroken over those embers; here at home, so are Ron Stevens and Brad Stouffer, co-owners of Legacy.
"This is a horseman's nightmare," Stouffer says, "it's devastating, it destroys lives, the community, it's just a wipeout."
Training horses like those of Dogwood, has been a labor of love - and beyond being a business, there is a lot more than money lost:
"All that history in the barn, it's just gone now," Stouffer says, "it's sad that history was just wiped out. And we had the Preakness winner Summer Squall and our brand new Belmont winner, Palace Malice, we'd just gotten his picture hanging up, and that hurts."
But the legacies lost go back decades before Legacy ever came:
"With the Whitney family, the fact that they came here, right here, this barn, it's where it all began."
In a way, that's where Aiken's identity all began:
"When you think Aiken, you think horses," Stouffer says.
Campbell is with Palace Malice, and when he comes home, it won't be the same.
"Memories are poignant, sure we'll get established in a new barn and I'm sure it will be all rosy, but I sure will miss that one," Campbell says.
Meanwhile Stouffer is at that one - he's not focused on picking up the history out of the embers, because he says the legacy does lie there -- it's here -- in the horses:
"Legacy is in our horses and the horses that we produce and they all survived and they'll go on to here and become champions," Stouffer says.
Legacy and The Aiken Training Track put on the Aiken trials. There will obviously be great expenses in getting started again; they say if you want to help, buy a ticket. It will, they say, help rebuild and you're guaranteed to have a great time.
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