In January, I wrote about trainer Joe Herrick and his filly, Lovely Finish — both survived the Lilac Fire that swept through San Diego last December that killed 46 race horses. Both were recovering from severe burns.
A few days ago, the Washington Post wrote an update story on the two, Through the Flames. Looked at through the lens of the most recent California fires, their continued success and improvements are inspirational. Both hurting, both burned, together they healed.
Joe spent the next several weeks trying to hand-walk Lovely, twice or even three times a day. His charred wrist made it difficult. So did her ornery demeanor. Lovely, who weighed almost 1,200 pounds, reared and bucked as Joe, who weighs about 150, tried to keep her steady. When walking wasn’t enough, he started jogging alongside her. Along with his probably premature return to the soccer field, the jogging helped Joe get back in shape. It also helped exhaust his body to the point that he started sleeping right through the nightmares.
In late September, 10 months after the fire, Lovely Finish returned to racing. She hit the boards in third, but finished first in the hearts of her supporters. She finished third in her second race and, just a few days ago (after the article ran) she finished second. How wonderful to read a story of success after so much tragedy.