The California Horse Racing Board conducted its regular meeting Thursday, September 19, at Los Alamito Racecourse. Vice Chair Madeline Auerbach presided. Commissioners Alex Solis, Fred Maas, Dennis Alfieri, Gregory Ferraro, DVM, Oscar Gonzalez and Wendy Mitchell 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:
• Vice Chair Auerbach began the meeting by thanking former Chairman Chuck Winner, who's term had expired, for his nearly eight years of service on the Board. Ms. Auerbach and Rick Baedeker, Executive Director, paid tribute to Mr. Winner's expertise, integrity and untiring work on behalf of the industry in general and the health and safety of the racehorse and rider in particular.
Ms. Auerbach then welcomed both Wendy Mitchell and Oscar Gonzales, both of whom Governor Gavin Newsom appointed to the Board on September 10. Wendy Mitchell, who earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California, has been principal of WM Consulting Inc. since 2006. She served on the California Coastal Commission from 2011 to 2016 and the Los Angeles South Valley Area Planning Commission from 2009 to 2011, as well as several other public policy positions during her career.
Oscar Gonzales has been vice president of government and community relations at Aura Financial Corporation since 2017. He was a consultant for the Cal State Los Angeles Dreamers Resource Center in 2017 and served in several positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2009 to 2017. He was associate director of the United Farm Workers Foundation from 2007 to 2009 and is a cofounder and member of Rural Forward.
• During public comment, the Board heard from a number of people expressing their views on animal rights, the importance of racetrack jobs, and other issues concerning the life of a racehorse.
• The Board approved an agreement to alter the distribution of market access fees from California advanced deposit wagering for the continued funding of a co-op marketing program. The Board asked that the program be placed on a future Board agenda for a better understanding of its funding and components.
• The Board approved the application for license to conduct a horse racing meeting of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (T) at Del Mar, commencing November 6, 2019 through December 3, 2019, inclusive. Also approved was an agreement, pursuant to CHRB Rule 1581, Racing Secretary to Establish Conditions, to impose two of the same restrictions on medications that have been in effect for other meets this year, specifically a reduction (by half) of authorized Lasix and a prohibition against the administration of corticosteroids within 14 days of a race. The same provision was approved, for Lasix only, for the Watch & Wager LLC harness meet at Sacramento.
• The Board approved for public notice comment a proposed regulatory amendment to CHRB Rule 1503, Qualifications for License as Trainer or Assistant Trainer, to require that individuals hold an assistant trainer license in good standing for at least one year as a perquisite for a trainers license.
• Commissioner Ferraro briefed the Board on discussions at the Medication, Safety and Welfare Committee from the previous day. Dennis Moore, Track Consultant for Santa Anita, explained the process of maintaining the racing surface during wet weather. There was considerable discussion on the practice of “sealing” tracks. Also discussed was a proposal to require fitness testing for jockeys and exercise riders and the ongoing effort to establish a program for continuing education for trainers.
• The Board finalized the proposed 2020 calendar for southern California daytime racing, revising the calendar adopted last month to grant Los Alamitos a total of five weeks of racing rather than four. the calendar for 2020 was approved as follows: Santa Anita Winter/Spring, December 25 (2019) through June 23; Los Alamitos, June 24 through July 7; Del Mar, July 8 (opens July 18) through September 8; Santa Anita Fall, September 9 through October 27; Del Mar Fall October 28 through December 1; Fairplex at Los Alamitos, December 2 through December 22 (note: each date segment begins on the Wednesday prior to opening and ends on the Tuesday following closing).
The Board also approved the 2020 calendar for Watch & Wager LLC harness at Cal Expo from December 25 (2019) through May 5 and October 28 through December 22. The Board voted to delay discussion of the remainder of 2020 calendar, including quarter horse dates and racing in northern California, until the October meeting.
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