NYTHA pledges donations to assist those impacted by California fire

Posted: Dec. 9, 2017

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association will make an immediate donation of $10,000 on behalf of the victims of the San Luis Rey Downs fire, and has pledged to contribute additional funds for those affected by this devastating event.

The initial donation will go to the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation Inc.

“It is truly amazing how the racing community comes together in times of tragedy,” retiring NYTHA President Rick Violette Jr. said. “The scenes and stories from San Luis Rey Downs have been heart-wrenching, and we want the horsemen in California to know that we are here to help in any way we can.”

“We know there is great demand for funding right now, but that there will also be horsemen and horses in need of assistance for months to come,” said Joseph Appelbaum, who will take over as NYTHA president Dec. 12. “The new NYTHA Board will have its first meeting this week, and this will be at the top of the agenda.”

Those who wish to make a contribution can visit the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation website or a GoFundMe page.

The GoFundMe account was created by The Stronach Group, which owns San Luis Rey Downs training center. The company’s Santa Anita Park, as well as Del Mar, helped establish the fund to help pay for hospital and rehabilitative costs incurred by those injured in the Dec. 7 fire.

Santa Anita is now in the process of collecting clothing items for the dozens of stable workers who were forced to flee the flames.

The fire, fueled by fierce Santa Ana winds, was first reported at approximately 11:30 a.m. PST 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 a 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.