Workouts back to normal at San Luis Rey Downs
Last updated 11/21/2007 at Noon
By October 27, workouts at the San Luis Rey Downs Thoroughbred Training Center were at the level they had been prior to the Rice Fire which caused the track to be closed one day and most trainers to avoid workouts for a five-day period.
Twenty-two horses were clocked on the San Luis Rey Downs track the morning of October 27. Ten horses had been clocked during the previous five days.
“We only closed the track one day, and that was just because it was too smoky,” said Leigh Ann Howard, the general manager of the San Luis Rey Downs Thoroughbred Training Center. “The rest of the time I guess the trainers just didn’t want to breathe.”
San Luis Rey Downs had no workouts on October 23 or October 24, although the track was closed only during one of those days. “The clockers were there and the track was open,” said Howard.
On October 20 the track had 18 workouts. Four horses worked out October 21; the fires elsewhere in the county didn’t break out until the conclusion of that day’s workout period and the lower number is comparable to the totals for each of the previous two Sundays. Five horses worked out October 14 and six horses were clocked October 7.
The Rice Fire broke out the morning of October 22, and three horses were clocked that day. Only one horse worked out on the track October 25.
“[The trainers] didn’t want them breathing,” Howard said. “[The horses] breathe a lot deeper when they work.”
Six horses were timed October 26.
In addition to the horses normally stabled at San Luis Rey Downs, the facility took in approximately 85 head of evacuated horses. Some families who had been evacuated stayed in the grain barn of the San Luis Rey Downs Thoroughbred Training Center, which is sometimes used for meetings.
Howard lives in Fallbrook and was evacuated from her home, but the facility itself was not evacuated. “Everything worked out well. We felt like we were kind of on an island,” Howard said.
The training center also monitored phones in the racing office on a 24-hour basis during the fires.