The California Horse Racing Board has confirmed that 46 horses perished on Thursday when the Lilac Fire destroyed nearly half the barns at the San Luis Rey Downs training center, according to bloodhorse.com. A small number of horses believed to have broken through a fence are still unaccounted for.
Approximately 360 Thoroughbreds from San Luis Rey are now located at Del Mar, and the first horses stepped onto the track on Saturday morning to resume their training routine.
CHRB veterinarian Tim Grande has urged horsemen to report their status of missing and/or extra horses to his office, in an effort to centralize the data, per drf.com.
“We want to make our office the central information point of what horses are missing, what horses are confirmed deceased and what horses have been found,” he said. “Some guys are missing six horses and some aren't missing any but have extra horses.”
The Thoroughbred Daily News had positive news to report on Saturday. Trainer Martine Bellocq, who suffered severe burns over nearly 50 percent of her body trying to save horses from the flames, has emerged from her medically-induced coma. Additionally, one of her three horses believed to have perished in the fire was found alive on Saturday morning. The 2-year-old's identity was confirmed by horse identifiers and Bellocq's training partner received an email notification.
“Martine is doing better,” Pierre Bellocq Jr. said. “She's out of the induced coma and is on the respirator. She can't speak or see right now, but she can hear us apparently, so that's a little progress. She is still in critical care. She's being taken care of at UC San Diego Hillcrest [medical center]. She's got third-degree burns from head to toe and she's really bad, but they're confident she's going to make it. They can't do any kind of surgery until Monday.”
Owners and horsemen's groups across the country have continued to step up in the face of the San Luis Rey disaster, including a $10,000 donation from the New York Throughbred Horsemen's Association. A season to California Chrome will also be auctioned off to support the relief efforts (available here), courtesy of Taylor Made and the California Chrome syndicate.
Taylor said that Taylor Made and the syndicate will make the money available immediately, even before the funds have been collected, in order that the funds get to those workers in need as soon as possible.
According to the TDN, the Race Track Chaplaincy of California will be coordinating donations for the displaced backstretch workers who lost everything in the fire, along with the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. Checks denoting that they are for the “San Luis Rey backstretch workers fund” can be sent to the following address:
Race Track Chaplaincy of California
c/o 1st Advantage Business Solutions Inc.
P. O. Box 2008
Downey, Ca. 90241
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