Forty-six lives were lost as a result of the Lilac fire's invasion of the San Luis Rey training center. Those involved believe it could have been significantly worse, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“If (all involved) don't react like that, they lose 200 horses,” said Del Mar spokesman Mac McBride.
“At least,” added David Jerkens, Del Mar's racing secretary. “The fact they stayed around and put the safety of the horses first, that shows what they're all about. The horses are like their children.”
Inspired by the heroism of the backstretch workers, over $640,000 was donated to a Go Fund Me account set up by the Stronach Group and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. This week, $500 of that money was given to each of 224 backstretch workers, and $600 to trainers for each horse affected.
Other owners across the country have been making notable donations as well. James McIngvale donated mattresses to the displaced backstretch workers, and Joe Ciaglia bought 200 pairs of shoes to give away. Another anonymous donor wrote a $28,000 check to Del Mar, allowing the track to give $400 to 70 workers this week. Farms around San Luis Rey also stepped up to help catch and identify loose horses.
“In today's society, where you've got racist, misogynist, fake-news (claims), sexual harassment and all kinds of nonsense, there are good people out there,” said trainer Peter Miller, who had 75 horses at San Luis Rey when the fire hit. “It's really heartening to see the goodness and kindness.”
Read more at the San Diego Union-Tribune.
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