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CHRB delays fire sprinkler installations


Last updated 8/27/2020 at 7:38am

Few can forget the terrible images of the Lilac Fire in 2017. Among the worst were scenes of people trying to rescue horses at San Luis Rey Training Center in Bonsall, where rescuers were burned and 45 horses ultimately perished.

It was therefore terribly disturbing when the California Horse Racing Board, during its Aug. 20 meeting, granted an exemption to its own Fire Safety Rule to the San Luis Rey Training Center - where the center’s representative admitted that about half of the barns have no sprinklers and asked for another full year in which to get them installed.

With fires currently raging across California, the board also granted an exemption to the Los Alamitos racetrack.

Given the wealth of the horse racing industry, it is hard to comprehend the failure of San Luis Rey Training Center to install sprinklers after the tragedy of the Lilac Fire and impossible to understand the unanimous decision of the CHRB to waive their own requirements regarding fire safety. It is one more example of what is wrong with horse racing.

Jane Cartmill


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