Happy return for horses who lost their home to Lilac Fire

SAN DIEGO -- It was a happy day at the San Luis Rey Training Center Sunday, as more than 400 thoroughbreds displaced by last year's Lilac Fire finally returned home.

The center has been hard at work refurbishing their beloved stables since the blaze raged through Bonsall last December.

The fire destroyed several buildings and barns, killing 46 horses. For four months, about 400 surviving thoroughbreds had been temporarily stabled at the Del Mar racetrack.

But at about 9 a.m. Sunday morning, the horses returned to facilities that had been steam cleaned, pressure washed, repainted or entirely rebuilt.

The center's Kevin Habell said the fresh start has had a healing effect.

“You know it was traumatic for a lot of people -- and to come back to this, they’re just happy," Habell told FOX 5. "The grins and the hugs ... it’s just awesome. Very nice, very nice. They can’t be happier than to be back right now."