Hundreds of elite thoroughbred race horses sprinted away from flames Thursday as one of Californias major wildfires tore through a training center in San Diego County. Not all made it. There was no official count of how many animals were killed in the hazy confusion as both horses and humans evacuated, but trainers at San Luis Rey Downs estimated that at least a dozen had died, possibly far more. Horses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars who are usually carefully walked from place to place were simply set free and encouraged to run away as flames engulfed the center near Bonsall, which is just a few miles from where the fire broke out.Excess & Surplus Lines
Mac McBride, who was working with the centers trainers, said it was "total pandemonium when several hundred horses were cut loose," but he believes most of the about 450 horses stabled there survived. McBride, who works at the Del Mar race track, said some horses were evacuated to the nearby track where many of them compete.