WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) - Fires burning in San Diego County killed dozens of horses and put at least one trainer in the hospital with serious injuries at San Luis Rey Downs, according to multiple reports.
An estimated 25 horses were killed, but those numbers could be as high as 30, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
The Times also reports that trainer Martine Bellocq suffered second- and third-degree burns over 50% of her body and was taken by helicopter to UC San Diego Medical Center, where she was placed into a medically induced coma.
Bellocq was injured trying to rescue her six horses. Three of those died and three are unaccounted for, according to the report.
"There was so much smoke it was difficult to see," trainer Dan Durham told KFMB in San Diego. "Some of the horses were turned loose so they could be safe. They were scattered around."
San Luis Rey Downs is a training site in Bonsall - in northeast San Diego County - where horses are stabled that run at Del Mar, Santa Anita Park and Los Alamitos.
Los Alamitos canceled all races Friday. Del Mar, located about 40 miles from San Luis Rey Downs, is housing dozens of displaced horses and is seeking donations of food and supplies.
“This is a tragic blow to the California Thoroughbred racing industry and of great sorrow to everyone,” Jack Liebau, the vice-president of the Los Alamitos Racing Association said in a statement. “We express our sympathy to the owners, trainers and caretakers of the horses victimized by this tragic event. We salute those who so bravely attempted to safeguard horses at San Luis Rey Downs in face of the swiftly approaching fire as well as those who transported horses to Del Mar under hazardous conditions and those who went to Del Mar to aid the horses moved there.”
The Lilac Fire has has burned more than 4,100 acres as of Friday afternoon, destroying at least 65 structures.
A gofundme page has been set up to aid the victims of the fires.
© 2018 USATODAY.COM