Santa Anita & Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Join Forces Following Fire to Provide Off-Site Stabling

Following an emergency meeting of the California horse racing industry’s Stabling and Vanning Committee Friday afternoon,  Santa Anita Park and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club have joined forces to accommodate nearly 500 displaced horses as San Luis Rey Downs Training Center undergoes reconstruction following yesterday’s devastating Lilac Fire.

Reported at 11:30 a.m. PT Thursday, near Interstate 15 and south of state Route 76, the Lilac fire, fueled by Santa Ana winds, spread rapidly westward engulfing San Luis Rey Downs early Thursday afternoon, destroying at least eight barns and the loss of an undetermined number of Thoroughbred horses.

“This is a horrific situation and everybody is trying to pitch-in and do whatever can be done to make things better,” said Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer of The Stronach Group. “The outpouring of support from inside and outside of our industry has been truly heartwarming. Together, we’ll get through this.”

The Del Mar Fairgrounds and Racetrack has graciously opened its arms to approximately 800 horses, Thoroughbreds and other breeds, that were forced to flee the Lilac Fire yesterday and remains open to accept the animals. People with livestock are encouraged to evacuate. Anyone needing assistance with evacuations is asked to call the County Animal Services emergency number at 619-236-2341. The @DMFairgrounds evacuees are welcome through the Stable Gate, Call 858-755-1161. Evacuees are encouraged to bring bedding, feed & horse identification

“We’re here to help when a tragic situation like this presents itself,” said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s president Joe Harper. “With aid from our landlord, the 22nd District Agricultural Association, we’re going to begin serving as a training center tomorrow morning and will continue on that path for the immediate future as our industry puts the pieces back together again. The Del Mar Fairgrounds is a multi-use facility and we do have constraints on just how far we can go with this, but for the next several weeks, or months, Del Mar will be holding training for our Southern California horsemen.”

For additional information regarding rescue efforts and fundraising relative to yesterday’s fire at San Luis Rey Downs Training Center and for more information on shelter, please visit either or   Supplies are pouring in yet clothes and donations are most needed for continued support @DMFairgrounds #LilacFire. Please donate Here.  Most importantly, If you have horses or have found horses and need a transporter please contact Equiride. They will waive all costs for shipments. 

Other accommodations available for those in LA for farm animals in need of shelter from the fires, please call (909) 865-4600 to check on space available at a Fairplex! 📞 


Author Bio


Christine adores Cardiff-by-the-Sea.  She is passionate about the environment, animals and health, including a great love for her family and the outdoors. She is dedicated to making a difference through diligence, perseverance, strategy, education, awareness and change.