California Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed Damascus Castellanos to the California Horse Racing Board, subject to approval of the state Senate.
Castellanos, 53, a resident of Los Angeles, has been a business representative for Teamsters Local No. 495 since 2012. He was a business representative for Teamsters Local No. 630 from 2001 to 2012. Castellanos has been a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for more than 30 years.
Castellanos also serves on the board as labor representative of the California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to improve the quality of life for backstretch employees at California racetracks.
Castellanos is the fourth appointment to the board by Newsom, who was elected in 2018. His previous appointees are retired racetrack veterinarian and academician Gregory Ferraro, DVM, who serves as CHRB chairman; Oscar Gonzalez, the vice chairman, who like Castellanos has ties to labor unions; and Wendy Mitchell, a consultant and former member of the California Coastal Commission.
Remaining members appointed by former Gov. Jerry Brown are retired jockey Alex Solis and Dennis Alfieri, who voluntarily gave up his owner's license and sold the interests in horses he owned after Newsom made it clear he wanted a regulatory board free of any conflicts of interest. Thoroughbred owner and breeder Madeline Auerbach resigned from the board last year.
Castellanos, like Govs. Brown and Newsom, is a Democrat.
The CHRB is also believed to be in the final stages of hiring a successor to executive director Rick Baedeker, who last November announced his intention to retire this spring.
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