CHRB: Progress on Stabling, Lasix Returns to 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Races

by | 08.22.2013 | 5:31pm

There was considerable progress reported at Thursday's California Horse Racing Board meeting to provide some assurance to horsemen that adequate stabling will be in place following the closure of Hollywood Park, which is scheduled to run its final live race meeting this fall. No formal agreement was reached, with the board voting to delay the issue until its September meeting, giving the various parties time to work out final details.

Among the deal points announced by CHRB chairman David Israel was an agreement by Hollywood Park to keep its stable area and racetrack open for training through Jan. 31, 2014, and “maybe considerably longer.”

The Inglewood track did not request racing dates for 2014 and had indicated its stable area would close Jan. 1 as the property is prepared for development by parent company Bay Meadows Land Co. No one representing Hollywood Park spoke at the August CHRB meeting, but Israel indicated the track could remain open for training much longer than the new deadline of Jan. 31 and that Hollywood Park was negotiating with Los Alamitos in Orange County to operate a Thoroughbred meeting there.

Among other areas of agreement announced by Israel or others but not formally adopted by the board were:

–Los Alamitos plans to expand its main track from five furlongs to one mile by Jan. 1, 2014. The expansion includes a widening of the turns and additional stabling for up to 700 Thoroughbreds, which will be kept in a separate area from Quarter Horses that compete there year-round.

–Beginning in 2014, Los Alamitos will seek a two-week summer meeting bridging the Santa Anita Park winter-spring-summer meet and the Del Mar summer meeting; and a three-week fall meet bridging the new Del Mar fall meeting and the traditional opening of the Santa Anita season on Dec. 26. Santa Anita would give up the final week of its meeting in July to facilitate Los Alamitos, and Del Mar would give up the final week of its new fall meeting in December 2014 to provide extra dates for the Los Alamitos winter meet. Los Alamitos plans to offer night Quarter horse racing after the summer Thoroughbred programs conclude.

–Los Alamitos would operate both meetings under its name unless Hollywood Park kept its stable open for a longer period of time and the industry “in unison” – in the words of Los Alamitos executive Brad McKinzie – demanded a deal with Hollywood Park to operate one of the meetings. Commissioner Steve Beneto said it was time to “cut the cord.”  “Forget Hollywood Park,” Beneto said. “It's the tail wagging the dog and I don't like it.”

–Joe Harper, CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, said he would lobby the track's “landlord” – the state's 22nd Agricultural District in north San Diego County that owns the racetrack property and fair grounds – to keep Del Mar's stable area open for training year-round in anticipation of Hollywood Park closing.

–Fairplex Park, the off-site stabling area preferred by the majority of California Thoroughbred Trainers members, would be part of the 2014 stabling solution, at least in the short term.

–San Luis Rey Downs training center in Bonsall would seek approvals to expand from just under 500 stalls to 800 stalls and follow through on its previous pledge to build a turf course. It is currently being renovated.

Commissioner Beneto chastised Santa Anita Park executives during a proposal on marketing for “putting the cart ahead of the horse,” and urged owner the Stronach Group to renovate the stable area at the Arcadia track. The remark drew loud applause from the audience attending the meeting at the Del Mar simulcast building.

In other news, the CHRB approved a request from the Breeders' Cup to have similar protocol on race-day administration of Lasix  (also known as furosemide) in 2013 as was in place at the 2012 championships. No Lasix will be permitted race-day in the four races for 2-year-olds, and the anti-bleeder diuretic will be administered by third-party veterinarians approved by Breeders' Cup in the other championship races. (Clarification: In addition to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies, Juvenile Turf, and Juvenile Filllies Turf, a non-championship race called the Juvenile Turf Sprint will be run under the no-Lasix rule as it receives Breeders' Cup funding to supplement the purse.)

There was considerable discussion about conducting research on the effect the absence of Lasix might have on 2-year-olds, but CHRB equine medical director Rick Arthur said owner permission would be required to endoscopically examine every horse for exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. There apparently will be a check-off on Breeders' Cup entry forms giving permission to veterinarians to scope 2-years-old post-race to see if they bled without medication.

It was during this debate that Joe Morris, executive director of Thoroughbred Owners of California, confirmed that 2-year-olds participating in the 2014 Breeders' Cup – also at Santa Anita – will be permitted to run with Lasix. That issue was raised by the Paulick Report earlier this year after TOC sent a letter to Breeders' Cup saying “California is not interested in hosting the 2014 Breeders' Cup if Lasix is not allowed for all races.” Horsemen's groups in other states have sent similar messages to the Breeders' Cup. With the exception of New York, horsemen's consent is required for simulcast agreements.

Finally, the CHRB approved a change in its recently revised claiming rules that automatically voided claims in the event a horse was placed on the vet's list by the state veterinarian while cooling out within an hour after a race. The new rule will give the person claiming a horse the option to override the automatic void in those instances where the horse was put on the vet's list. The rule was adopted in recognition of owners claiming a filly for breeding purposes or claiming a horse to retire it from racing.


  • Craig Brogden

    The Breeders Cup now has the ball in their court to continue its push to eliminate Salix from the event.
    The simple solution is to allow any trainer to run their horse on Salix but require that horse to carry an additional weight penalty in the race to offset the performance enhancing effect of Salix. There has been a great deal of research done that can be used to determined the weight penalty depending on the distance of the race.
    This would allow the owner and trainer to choose whether they felt their horse needed Salix to run and not penalize the owners and trainers who choose to not run on race day medication.
    I would expect some surprising decisions by some very vocal owners and trainers on both sides of the issue.

    • Arazi


    • dispute92

      Great idea! It certainly does help the outcome and not many trainers have figured out how to run without it. I would like to have them list trainers who have had success without using lasix. You will NEVER see some of the top trainers run without it.

    • fb0252

      additional weight increases risk of injury. if a weight penalty is to be considered then the amt. of weight loss between lasix and non-lasix horses need to be considered. It’s overlooked that non-lasix horses urinate in 4 hrs. before race also, and that body weight has different effect than lead weight. I’ve race horses both lasix and non. I doubt there’s a big performance effect either way other than that lasix aids in preventing EIPH and allows most EIPH horses to race.

  • DMH

    I thought I heard rumblings about the Madison Square Gardens folks looking to purchase HolPark…also the tribes are now looking as the Gov. signed the ‘fee-to-trust’ bill allowing casinos to be built off of reservation land – as long as the land is owned by the tribe. If they owned HolPark, they could run a casino. I don’t think HolPark will be closing. The Bay Meadows people have sure given a lot back all of a sudden by allowing the training to continue well past their original date – a far cry from what they said last time out….I’m thinking they’ve got NO MONEY for development. I’d bet they are looking to sell if possible, they don’t have enough investors to even continue to develop in San Mateo…..

    • Jay

      I am afraid the rumblings you refer to are of a gastric nature. Try eating something. If that does not work, consult your physician.

    • GodsFavor

      I hope this is true! It would be the best scenario as all that is being discussed now will take time and disrupted the whole California racing circuit. They are remodeling the Forum and bringing it back, the Indians should take over Hollywood adding slots, a hotel and shops on the property. Make it the Dubai race track of USA!

    • Ann M. Adam

      My feeling exactly DMH! They have NO money and they can’t maintain the stable area either from the looks of it. I would wonder about the safety of the track surface . . .

    • Ann M. Adam

      Hollywood Park already has a casino. I’d label it more as a card club and I think it is more like the card clubs that have been in Gardena, CA for many, many years. These are not a Vegas like as many Indian casinos but those run the gamut of posh to shack.

    • Ann M. Adam

      Googled “Inglewood Forum” and there are three informational articles, two in L A Times a year apart (at purchase) and at ?perhaps? 6 mos pre-Eagles re-opening, Jan 15, 2014. The other is by ABC News. Worth a read and will add to questions and speculation!

  • Richard C

    The CHRB makes Bud Selig appear to be competent.

    • Harry

      Just leave it to California and there drug infested industry!!!!!!!! Why oh Why everywhere outside of the good ol USA the trainers can train and run with out the use of Lasix or any drugs? I NOs it because the trainers there are really trainers or horseman and care for the horses and the public that bets and makes this industry equal? We will change the license for trainers in California and all the other states to chemist for horse run faster through chemestry thats if they don’t die right Bob? Lets get the business back where it once was please! NO DRUGS at ALL! Then we will see how long these so called trainers can stay in business!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Mimi Hunter

        I’m not so sure that horse racing [or any competitive event] has ever been free of drugs. Everybody seems to look for something to give them an advantage, but it sure Is something to aim at. Probably the only way it would work would be to make it financially beneficial to race clean. Maybe some kind of jackpot…

  • s/s

    Google Dr Allred and you can see how the good man makes his money and you want to support this guy. Really.

    • Michael Cusortelli

      Since Dr. Allred became involved in horse racing in the 1960s, there’s been nobody in the state of California more dedicated to the sport. He’s been a breeder, horse owner, and track owner, and he’s a pretty good handicapper as well.

      I’ve worked in the Quarter Horse racing industry since 1996, and it’s not much of a stretch to say that there wouldn’t be any QH racing left in California if not for Dr. Allred. Just about anybody else who owned Los Alamitos Racecourse and the land it sits on would have cashed in and sold it for development at least 10 years ago. It’s worth more per acre for development than Hollywood Park, simply because of the area that surrounds it.

      What does “how the good man makes his money” have to do with this discussion?

  • Smitty

    Santa Anita obviously has huge value in just its real estate.Stronach basically stole it.Unfortunately the barn area is sitting on the most valuable piece of the property,complete road frontage.That is why they have no wish to spend any money on the barns.One day they will be torn down.

    • BobF

      You can’t tear down Santa Anita. The city wouldn’t allow it and it is zoned for a race track and will never be zoned for anything else.

  • jttf

    why are we forcing horses to use lasix ? it takes more time for them to recover from the dehydration. more recovery time means you are making the horse sick. dehydration causes lower immune levels. why do we make our horses sick ? regular lasix use keeps horses from performing to their peak later on in life. the breeders cup juvenile winner has only won the kentucky derby once since lasix arrived. dont we remember riva ridge (1971); secretariat (1972), foolish pleasure (1974), seattle slew (1976), affirmed (1977), and spectacular bid (1978) ? these were all 2 year old champions who went on to win the kentucky derby. 6 horses in 8 years were able to improve as three year olds. california should know better than to force horses to use lasix. the last 2 horse of the year winners from california were zenyatta and azeri. neither horse raced on lasix until they started late in their 3 year old season. zenyatta followed azeri’s schedule to a tee. california’s tiznow (the only two time breeders cup classic winner) did not use lasix as a 2 year old. so why are your best horses from the past, not using lasix at the age of two ? who are the best horses of the present ? game on dude and wise dan. neither used lasix at the age of two. why doesnt the chrb and breeders cup committee want to see special horses grow and improve ?

    • nu-fan

      And, I am still waiting for Dr. Arthur to explain the death of Reno Lucky Lady at the State Fair this summer. Was it the heat, as he speculated? Was it the Lasix? Was it something else? But, this little 2-year-old died on her way back to the stall after running only her first race. I have been searching to see if there is any information about this specific event but cannot find anything. What happened to this young filly might happen to others as well. Can’t find anything on CHRB’s website, either.

      • Ann M. Adam

        This is a REAL question that deserves a FULL answer. There others that are similar!

    • Ann M. Adam

      It is obvious to me that it is thought that furosemide does MORE than to what is given lip service! Why on earth is it thought to be O.K. to dose a horse to MASK a problem and race that horse rather than to have that horse completely rehabilitated?? No matter how convoluted the language for the permission for use of ANY meds past any healing medical aid, the benefit to the horse is NIL!!! It simply boils down to the hope for $$$$s for the connections and to HELL with the health of the horse! It should be as simple as: Healthy to race ~ Not healthy to race!

  • GregS

    Seems like the lead has been buried here: the bulldozers and demolition crews aren’t getting anywhere near Hollywood Park anytime soon. And think about this sentence from above: “Hollywood Park was negotiating with Los Alamitos in Orange County to operate a Thoroughbred meeting there.” I thought ESPN on ABC sounded silly, how about Betfair Hollywood Park At Los Alamitos while Hollywood Park houses the horses and keeps the track open for training?

    • DMH

      I agree GregS, something is going on, and the Bay Meadows Land Co people aren’t talking. They despise the horsemen/CHRB, etc. and will do anything to make things more difficult for them. They realize demo and ‘redevelopment’ of HP isn’t going to happen. They will drag this out until someone comes along and makes them the offer they can’t refuse, which is what is likely going on. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if the CHRB/horsemen/TOC/whoever didn’t make a real effort in trying to prevent HP from being bought by a developer in the first place. (there sure was a big effort for SA went Stronach went bankrupt). And there was no effort in trying to convince the city council that closing HP is a bad deal for the city. Of course, with the corruption there, that may not have mattered. The Inglewood city council has been paid off by the BMLC, so they don’t care if they build or not. Funny, too, how they are darn interested in keeping that crappy casino and not the track!
      If HP goes, it will be the demise of CA racing. HP is too important to racing in CA, plain and simple – and everyone knows it. And, you’ve got all the remaining tracks (save for Los Al and the fairs) owned by Stronach. Need I say more? He was ready to sell Golden Gate just recently when there was an interested party looking for land. If sure he gets an offer he can’t refuse for SA, that will be sold, too.

  • Suzanne

    Wouldn’t it just be simpler to do away with Lasix altogether – and better for the horses?? How come they don’t see that??
    Signed, Scratching My Head.

  • annie mouse

    With all of the talk about banning lasix & other drugs in common use on all racetracks throughout North America , I must do say that I have heard of a product that has proven itself on the race tracks in the East & now it is being shown to the trainers in California . Apparently , it is a simple piece of LEGAL equipment that allows the horses circulatory & respiratory systems to function at top level . This is NOT a supplement , is NOT a drug… is a specialized girth channel . They are using only knowledge of the equine anatomy to move a horse up . And as an aside it has been reported that bleeding , tying -up , muddy breathing etc has been lessened if not ….eliminated ( They appear to make no medical claims but merely make honest report . ) . And it would seem that a horse with no problems using the Channel becomes a more valuable competitor . I , myself , am using the channel on my 3Day Event horse and believe that this channel is helping to give my horse greater capacity , especially in the “roads & tracks ” & cross country phases . Have you heard of any talk of this girth channel ? Please respond . Regards .

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