Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced legislation today to improve horse racing safety across California and build on reforms adopted last year.
“We must do everything we can to put safety first and stop unacceptable horse deaths,” Sen. Dodd said. “We must ensure track conditions are right and horses are fit before they hit the starting gate so we aren't jeopardizing them and their jockeys.”
Last year, 37 horses died at Santa Anita Park, prompting calls for immediate action. Sen. Dodd wrote Senate Bill 469, which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, allowing the California Horse Racing Board to suspend racing at tracks where dangerous conditions exist.
The racing board launched an investigation into Santa Anita and is expected to release findings later this month. Separately, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey outlined concerns about the track in a Dec. 19 report.
Sen. Dodd's new bill, Senate Bill 800, is expected to incorporate reforms recommended by the board and District Attorney Lacey, including improved veterinary medical review prior to races and increased transparency in drug testing. Since the start of racing this year, two horses have died at Santa Anita.
Sen. Dodd chairs the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, which sets policy for the horse racing industry, among other things.
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