About 35 years ago, Joe Herrick plucked a purple and gasping girl from the Laguna Beach surf. In 2006, the horse-racing trainer revived the lifeless father of a colleague by delivering CPR in an equipment room at Del Mar racetrack.
A couple of years back, Herrick rescued two people who flipped a kayak in 5-foot waves on Lake Tahoe — fighting hypothermia out of Coast Guard reach.
So of course Herrick strained with all his might, among choking smoke and flickering flames, to coax the filly Lovely Finish from her stall during the deadly Dec. 7 fire at San Luis Rey Downs.
Why, though, did the man who suffered burns on 23 percent of his body — feeling skin melt as the...