The California Horse Racing Board conducted its regular meeting Thursday, February 20, at Cal Expo. Chairman Gregory Ferraro presided. Vice Chairman Oscar Gonzales and Commissioners Wendy Mitchell and Alex Solis also were in attendance.
The audio of this entire Board meeting is available on the CHRB Website (www.chrb.ca.gov) under the Webcast link. In brief:
- The Board adopted a rule strictly limiting the use of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) on racehorses. While this form of therapy may still be used to treat horses during non-racing periods, the new rule prohibits any horse from racing or even working in the mornings within 30 days of such treatment. ESWT can only be administered in clearly designated areas and each treatment must be carefully documented. Furthermore, no horse that received ESWT elsewhere can be brought to a CHRB-regulated facility without prior approval.
- After moving regulatory language in December that will further restrict use of the riding crop, or whip, in both racing and training, the Board continued its discussion of the construction of the riding crop itself. Commissioners expressed concerns about the availability of the crop and whether proposed language might inadvertently prevent further improvements by limiting options for design and materials. Also, several members of the public argued for eliminating the crop altogether. The issue will be scheduled for further consideration at the March 19 meeting.
- During public comment, the Board heard from a number of people expressing their views on animal rights and other issues concerning the life of a racehorse.
- The Board continued the regulatory process to permanently prohibit the administration of previously authorized medications to horses entered to race. The rule essentially allows only “hay, oats and water” in the racing horse, with the exception of the anti-bleeding medication Lasix, and even Lasix could be phased out under a proposed rule the Board will be considering in March.
- The Board approved for 15-day public notice a modified regulatory amendment to prohibit the administration of bisphosphonates to any horse within a CHRB-regulated inclosure and prohibit licensees from bringing in any horse they know has been so treated within the previous six months.
- The Board approved for 45-day public notice a regulatory amendment to specifically prohibit “program training,” which essentially involves someone other than the trainer or assistant trainer of record being in control of the horse immediately prior to a race.
- Dr. Rick Arthur, the CHRB equine medical director, reported on the February 12 meeting of the Medication, Safety and Welfare Committee during which experts at UC Davis reported on critical issues involving current drug testing methods, the next generation of drug testing, and advancements in diagnostic imaging.
- The Board approved for 45-day public notice regulatory amendments that tighten up and/or clarify security requirements, procedures, and reporting on individual Advance Deposit Wagering accounts.
- The Board authorized the distribution of $14,094 in race day charity proceeds by the Pacific Racing Association to eight beneficiaries.
- The Board authorized the distribution of $20,905 in race day charity proceeds by the Los Angeles Turf Club to ten beneficiaries.
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