The California Horse Racing Board conducted its regular meeting Wednesday, January 22, at the Department of Consumer Services in Sacramento. Chairman Gregory Ferraro presided. Vice Chairman Oscar Gonzales and Commissioners Dennis Alfieri and Wendy Mitchell also were in attendance.
- The Board acted to severely limit medications that can be present in horses participating in timed workouts. Similar restrictions already are in place at some tracks by house rules and horsemen's agreements. The rule adopted by the Board applies these restrictions to all tracks and gives the CHRB authority to deal with violations. The goal of the new rule is to eliminate medications that may mask injury or increase the chance of injury for a horse running at full speed and to protect the wagering public.
- The Board approved an emergency regulation essentially permitting only “hay, oats and water” during a race with the exception of the anti-bleeding medication Lasix, which can be administered on race day. However, even Lasix is prohibited by Board-approved house rules at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields for horses foaled in 2018. Some of the other prohibitions in the emergency regulation already are in place. The emergency regulation expands the prohibitions and ensures continuity. The action demonstrates the Board's commitment to eliminating medication in racing.
- After moving regulatory language in December that will further restrict use of the riding crop, or whip, in both racing and training, the Board took up the issue of the construction of the riding crop itself. All commissioners expressed support for a newly developed riding crop that is gentler on horses. However, representatives of the Jockeys' Guild convinced the Board to put over the matter until the February 12 meeting of the CHRB Medication, Safety and Welfare Committee for further discussion. The proposal is likely to come back to the full Board on February 20 for consideration.
- 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 adopted a rule requiring a full postmortem examination review of each fatality within a CHRB inclosure. Trainers of the deceased horses will be required to participate in the review with stewards and CHRB veterinary personnel. Veterinarians associated with each horse will be required to provide all pertinent records and data. The purpose of the postmortem examination review is to investigate the circumstances surrounding an equine fatality to gain an understanding of all events that may have contributed to the incident.
- The Board authorized a redistribution of revenue from Advance Deposit Wagering, as requested by Southern California stakeholders and authorized by statute.
- The Board approved a request by the California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation for changes to its Board of Directors intended to improve the organization's fund-raising efforts. CTHF provides medical and dental services to backstretch workers.
- Chief Steward Darrel McHargue provided an update on the January 21 meeting of the Stewards Committee.
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