Tinder box-conditions remain in Southern California

Dec 9, 2017 8:09 AM

Tinder box-conditions remain in Southern California where devastating, wind-whipped fires Thursday did extensive damage to the San Luis Rey Downs thoroughbred training center in Northern San Diego County.

Afternoon racing is set to resume today (Saturday) after yesterday’s card at Los Alamitos was cancelled to allow horsemen to assist in helping the training center personnel and about 800 animals settle into a temporary home at Del Mar, where racing concluded two weeks ago.

Santa Anita owner the Stronach Group (TSG) and The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, have now established a GoFundMe account page to help pay for hospital and rehabilitative costs incurred by those injured helping people, race horses and numerous other animals to escape the inferno.

For those wishing to donate to TSG's GoFundMe account, visit santaanita.com and click on the pop-up or visit the donation site at https://www.gofundme.com/thoroughbredcare.

New, official estimates now confirm the reporting of GamingToday’s Jon Lindo, that between 40 and 50 horses may have perished at the training center where numerous high-profile Southern California trainers stable horses in and out of training.

Trainer Scott Hansen, with 30 horses in training at San Luis Rey Downs, is reported to have lost half his barn, 15 runners, to the blaze.

No new information is available on the condition of Trainer Martine Bellocq who had been in listed in critical condition with second- and third-degree burns on 50 percent of her body or trainer Joe Herrick who was hospitalized with third-degree burns on his arm and shoulder. Both had braved the flames to help rescue their animals.

A major effort continues at Del Mar to assist with clothing, food and other supplies needed for backstretch workers from the training facility who lost all their possessions. In addition, volunteers are continuing to treat injured horses as well determining the identity of many of the animals. The racing strip has now been readied for any trainers needing to exercise their horses. 

More from Lindo, including the lasting impact of the fire on California racing, in Tuesday’s print edition of GamingToday and online at gamingtoday.com.