Over $600,000 Now Raised to Help Victims of Last Week's San Luis Rey Downs Training Center Fire by The Stronach Group/Santa Anita & Del Mar GoFundMe Effort
$250,000 Has Been Approved for Immediate Dispersal to Assist with Urgent Expenses
More than $600,000 currently has been raised via donations to the TSG/Santa Anita & Del Mar GoFundMe account through a world-wide outpouring to help the victims of last Thursday’s devastating Lilac Fire which destroyed eight barns at San Luis Rey Downs Training Center, claiming the lives of 46 Thoroughbreds and displacing hundreds of workers.
To address immediate needs, a working committee has been formed to oversee those funds and has announced that $250,000 will be distributed this week to those in critical need. The committee consists of Santa Anita/TSG’s Nate Newby (Vice President, Marketing), Del Mar’s David Jerkens (Racing Secretary), Madeline Auerbach (owner/breeder, CHRB* commissioner and founder of CARMA*), Alan Balch (Executive Director, CTT*) and Cliff Goodrich (Executive Director, CTHF*).
“We have well over 200 stable workers that have been severely impacted by this fire, some have lost everything and all have been significantly affected by the fire,” said Newby. “The committee is allocating an immediate disbursement of $500 each for every one of these workers to help them with living expenses and immediate needs. Getting this much needed financial assistance to the grooms and other stable workers as quickly as possible is a top priority for all of us and this will ensure they’ll have the money within two days.”
Jerkens, who has been overseeing a massive relief effort in the Del Mar Stable Area, noted that 20 different trainers were stabled in those barns at San Luis Rey that were destroyed by Thursday’s fire. He pointed to a need for supplies—bridles, halters, saddles, bits, webbings, bandages, feed buckets, stall mats, hay nets and more.
“Financial assistance to these trainers will be based and allocated on the size of their stable so that we can help with immediate needs to care for their horses,” said Jerkens. “By assisting the trainers who lost everything, we not only ensure their horses are receiving everything they need, it also puts the grooms, hot walkers, exercise riders and other stable help back to work, which is crucial.”
At the direction of the TSG/Santa Anita and Del Mar GoFundMe committee, the CTHF will distribute the funds from the GoFundMe campaign directly to individuals in need. The CTHF is registered as a 501-c3 charitable organization, so those who contributed to the GoFundMe account will be eligible to claim their donation as a tax deduction. More information will be available at www.gofundme.com/thoroughbredcare
This working committee will also be holding regular meetings until 100 percent of the money from the GoFundMe campaign has been distributed to those who need it most. The committee will provide regular updates and continue to solicit feedback from representatives from all aspects of the horse racing industry and beyond. The committee will also be coordinating with the other charitable efforts around the country that have raised money in support of those affected by the fires at San Luis Rey.
“On behalf of the committee, we’d like to sincerely thank everyone here in Southern California and around the world that have taken the time to contribute, whether it be monetarily, or otherwise. It’s been an incredibly uplifting experience to be a part of this comprehensive effort,” said Newby.
*Alphabetized key; TSG (The Stronach Group), CHRB (California Horse Racing Board), CTT (California Thoroughbred Trainers), CTHF (California Horsemen’s Foundation) and CARMA (California Retirement Management Account).
Release originally distributed by Santa Anita Park
All Photos © Katie Jones