Auerbach: Santa Anita Needs To Close Until Synthetic Track Can Be Installed

by | 11.14.2019 | 6:34pm
Madeline Auerbach and her stallion Unusual Heat in 2017

In a frank interview with Thoroughbred Daily News writer Daniel Ross, former California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) vice chair Madeline Auerbach said she thinks racing should have been suspended after the Breeders' Cup.

“In my view, the day after Breeders' Cup, I think they should've shut it down, announced that they were going to put in a synthetic [track], do whatever they needed to do to make that happen,” Auerbach told Ross, speaking of Santa Anita. “I know there's problems with getting material and everything. All of that aside, at some point somebody has to do something bold and brave, get us off the front page–not keep doing business as usual.”

Auerbach also revealed that the board had been in discussions with management at The Stronach Group to halt racing as early as mid-February in an attempt to diagnose and resolve the fatality issue, which would later become an even greater problem. At that time, the CHRB did not have the authority to halt racing over the objections of racetrack management. The board has since acquired that authority, but now Auerbach said she worries that when the composition of the board changes, the power may be used inappropriately.

Former CHRB chairman Chuck Winner left his seat earlier this year, CHRB executive director Rick Baedeker is leaving his position before next year, and commissioner Fred Maas will leave Jan. 1 when his term expires. Auerbach believes state government officials in Sacramento “want to take over the board, and I believe they're in the process of doing that.”

Read more at Thoroughbred Daily News

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