Report: San Luis Rey Downs targets April 1 reopening

HRN Staff
February 23, 2018 12:47pm

Southern California racing executives are aiming to reopen the San Luis Rey Downs training center on April 1, according to BloodHorse. Localed near Bonsall, Calif. San Luis Rey Downs was devastated by the Dec. 7 Lilac Fire, in which 46 horses died and horsemen were left hospitalized.

Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of The Stronach Group, said the plan is for the facility to hold near 500 horses. There was an estimate of 450 horses at the Stronach Group-owned facility when the fire hit. Nine barns were destroyed, and the temporary setup will consist of two large structures with 130 stalls each instead of smaller rows.

“That's our goal, on April 1, to have a full capacity of stalls available,” Ritvo told BloodHorse. “The repair to the barns that were damaged (but not destroyed) is done, and the temporary barns (have been built).”

San Luis Rey will mostly welcome horses who were previously stabled there when it reopens. David Jerkens, the racing secretary at Del Mar, said 385 Thoroughbreds are stabled at the Southern California track, which opened for training after the fire.

With a car show being hosted at Del Mar April 6-9, president Josh Rubinstein is hoping all horses will be off the grounds by the end of March. Training ends April 13.

San Luis Rey-based trainer Peter Miller, who won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Sprint with Roy H and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint with Stormy Liberal, feels it would help the racing industry if Del Mar was a year-round training facility.

“It's been great at Del Mar. The track has been fantastic and the 22nd Ag and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club have been amazing,” Miller told BloodHorse. “What it really makes me think about, though, is, why isn't Del Mar open for year-round training?

“It's doable. It would take some work, but it's a doable situation that would bring outfits from around the country, that want to live and train at Del Mar all year.”


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