San Luis Rey Downs Fire: What You Can Do To Help

by | 12.08.2017 | 12:07pm
Horses running at the San Luis Rey training center Thursday afternoon

The Stronach Group (TSG), in conjunction with Santa Anita Park and The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, has established a GoFundMe account page to help pay for hospital and rehabilitative costs incurred by those injured in yesterday's devastating Lilac Fire, which engulfed San Luis Rey Downs Training Center in northern San Diego County. Additionally, Santa Anita is now in the process of collecting clothing items for the dozens of stable workers who were forced to flee yesterday's flames.

The fire, fueled by fierce Santa Ana winds, was first reported at approximately 11:30 a.m. PT near Interstate 15 and state Route 76, to the east of San Luis Rey Downs. The resulting conflagration at the training center, which housed nearly 500 Thoroughbreds, has resulted in numerous injuries, equine and human, as well as an undetermined number of equine deaths.

Due to the heroic efforts of workers and first responders, all remaining horses have now been evacuated from San Luis Rey Downs, with the majority now stabled at Del Mar, which is 35 miles to the south.

Among the trainers who now have horses at Del Mar are Doug O'Neill, Peter Miller, Phil D'Amato, Mark Glatt and Richard Baltas, per Several horses appeared to have burn marks on their bodies. Track officials have indicated that they may open the Del Mar racetrack for temporary training purposes.

Trainer Martine Bellocq has been hospitalized at UCSD Medical Center Hillcrest and is listed in critical condition with second- and third-degree burns on 50 percent of her body, according to her brother-in-law Remi Bellocq, a longtime racing industry executive. Martine and her husband, Pierre, lost three horses from their small stable in the fire and Martine was injured trying to save them, according to Bellocq. She will remain in a medically induced coma in the San Diego hospital's burn unit but Bellocq said vital signs were positive and that she was conscious upon arrival. reports that trainer Joe Herrick has also been hospitalized with third-degree burns on his arm and shoulder.

Clothing items, as well as bedding and blankets for displaced workers, can be left at Santa Anita's Association Gate, accessible via Gate 8 off of Baldwin Ave.

For those wishing to donate to TSG's GoFundMe account to benefit those impacted by yesterday's fire at San Luis Rey Downs Training Center, please visit and click on the pop-up or visit the donation site at

The California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation is also coordinating relief efforts to assist anyone affected by the fire. Donations can be made at the CTHF website by clicking here.

Anyone interested in ordering items through Amazon to aid the displaced horses and people may refer to this Amazon Wish List, which has been set up by Kentucky-based college student Julie Witt together with California native Bob Feld. Items in the list will be deliverable to Feld's address in California, and he has coordinated with Witt to bring those supplies to Del Mar.

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