The Filly He Saved Helps Herrick Recover From San Luis Rey Fire

by | 01.13.2018 | 2:41pm
Trainer Joe Herrick with his filly, Lovely Finish. Herrick was able to save Lovely Finish from the wildfire that swept through San Luis Rey Downs earlier this month. Both Herrick and Lovely Finish suffered severe burns, but the prognosis is good for both Herrick and his filly.

Joe Herrick suffered burns over 23 percent of his body when saving the filly Lovely Finish from the flames at San Luis Rey Downs on Dec. 7, and lost six of his seven racehorses to the fire. Herrick described the harrowing ordeal to the San Diego Union-Tribune:

“This fireball just came over the wall and hit us as we were going out of the stall and lit us up,” the trainer said. “… When that hit us, she launched us out of the stall. I was just hanging onto her.”

The filly, who also suffered burns, is traveling down the road to healing alongside Herrick. He cleans her stall three times a day, takes her out for walks when the sun isn't too bright to burn her still-healing skin, and dresses her wounds daily.

“I think we both appreciate each other even more,” Herrick said. “I guess we pretty much saved each other's lives, you know?”

Read more at the Union-Tribune.

  • Rachel


  • Flying J

    Amazing survival stories. Tough, courageous people and animals.

  • McGov

    That is incredible. I think I needed to read this story today…..just when you have had enough of PEOPLE….and all the various ways they can be evil…….you read about Mr Herrick.
    One can only hope the Mr Herricks of the world have a nice place waiting for them, after this.
    My hat is off sir.

    • whirlaway

      I agree in a world where we hear so many terrible stories about our fellow humans people like Mr. Herrick brighten our day, he is a hero. If you have not seen the story a few weeks ago about people that stopped and saved 13 elk that fell through the ice in Wyoming it is inspiring and certainly redeems your faith. Worth looking at on the internet. That is why I prefer reading my news versus the TV as these type of stories I often find that do not reach mainstream news.

      • McGov

        Thanks whirlaway! I agree about selecting my own news….I read news from all parts of the world everyday and I find it very interesting the various perspectives of the same event.
        I’ll have to check out that elk story the next time my tolerance of humans becomes thin again….which will not take long, I am sure ;)
        I would take horses over people, 9 times out of 10 lol.

        • whirlaway

          Yes animals far less disappointing. Thankful when I hear about people doing extra ordinary caring feats. Also it is normally just regular citizens that quietly make a difference in the world including helping other people having a tough time. Not so much the famous pat themselves on the back people we see. The video of the elk will give you a boost.

  • Meg Hiers

    That moment when they started scratching each other’s healing skin….yep definitely lost it then. She seems like a total sweetheart. Here’s to as a swift a recovery as possible for them both and to all others injured that day.

  • Barrmorr

    Fortunately there is another side to horse racing other than cashing tickets. Unfortunately sometimes it takes a disaster such as San Luis Rey to point that out. We all know wagering drives the sport but without people like Joe Herrick who put the life of Lovely Finish above his own the game wouldn’t be the same. In my opinion anyone who isn’t moved emotionally by the picture of Mr. Herrick and Lovely Finish will not agree with this comment and they are certainly entitled to their opinion. But with the problems caused by some PEOPLE in horse racing and not by the horses themselves it is a feel good story as I said took a tragedy such as this to be bring to light. Wishing a quick and total recovery for Joe Herrick and Lovely Finish and thank you Mr. Herrick for restoring a sense of good in a horrible situation.

    • OopsyDaisy3

      Barrmorr – beautifully and heartfully stated.
      Bless Lovely Finish and her master, Mr. Herrick, continued success.
      And to all others still trying to recover, may you heal soon. Our prayers are with you.
      And to those beautiful horses who are in greener pastures, rest In peace dear ones.
      Linda in Texas

  • Glenn Gibson

    Great story. Hope the next few years are very successful for you both…

  • Kathy Young

    God bless their hearts.

  • Marsha Squibb

    Did my heart good to read of these old friends who clearly love one another!!!To both…..FEEL BETTER!!!!!

  • Auntie Judy aka JAG

    I’ve read his horrorific survival story – and watched his video interview – numerous times. Why? Because it puts my “problems” in check. I start with tears every time but end with a smile through the tears. She IS his LUCKY FINISH.
    God bless them through this journey.

  • ctgreyhound

    Thank goodness they have each other. Certainly a case of each helping the other cope & move past a horrendous time in their lives. Good comes out of tragedy.

  • Ida Lee

    Thank you for this article….I needed to read something that’s good for the human spirit….I just hope both man and horse continue to support each other in such a loving and inspiring way….

  • gus stewart

    Just happy for both.

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