According to CHRB notes there has been a substantial drop in California Equine Deaths

July 26, 2021

The California Horse Racing Board conducted a meeting by teleconference on Wednesday, July 21. The public participated by dialing into the teleconference and/or listening through the audio webcast link on the CHRB website. Chairman Gregory Ferraro chaired the meeting, joined by vice chair Oscar Gonzales and commissioners Dennis Alfieri, Damascus Castellanos, Brenda Washington Davis, Wendy Mitchell, and Alex Solis.

The audio of this entire Board meeting is available on the CHRB Website ( under the Webcast link. In brief:

The Board approved three license applications for race meets, beginning with the Sonoma County Fair (SCF) meet, which will be run at Golden Gate Fields (GGF) on August 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 15. SCF will be required to run Arabian races during the meet in compliance with statutes. In a related matter, the Board approved an agreement between SCF and the Thoroughbred Owners of California authorizing the racing secretary to establish conditions on races limiting the administrations of certain medications.

The Board approved the license application for the Pacific Racing Association (PRA) to conduct a thoroughbred meet at Golden Gate Fields with racing commencing August 26 and running through October 3. As one condition, Golden Gate must provide its race signals and access to its wagering pools to all simulcast outlets in California. Additionally, Golden Gate and the California Thoroughbred Trainers must enter into a race-meet agreement before the August 18 Board meeting.

The Board approved the license application for the Humboldt County Fair to operate a fair meet in Ferndale on August 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29.

The Board set a January 31, 2022, date for San Luis Rey Downs (SLRD) to complete installation of its sprinkler system, though management expects work to completed by late December. SLRD has a fire clearance and complies with all local fire regulations.

Executive director Scott Chaney reported a full 50 percent reduction in the number of total training, racing, and other fatalities over the last two fiscal years. In furtherance of the CHRB’s safety efforts, he pointed out that Dr. Jeff Blea assumed the role of equine medical director and Dr. Tim Grande assumed the role of chief official veterinarian on July 1, and noted, “Both Drs. Blea and Grande are accomplished veterinarians and have a specific understanding regarding veterinary medicine’s intersection with the regulatory arena and the promotion of animal welfare.  In the three weeks they have been on the job, I have found both to be engaged, enthusiastic and committed.”

Dr. Blea reported that California will be well represented in industry oversight under the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). Dr. Sue Stover, director of the J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, sits on HISA’s governing board and also chairs its Racetrack Safety Standing Committee, while Dr. Blea is a member of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Standing Committee. Dr. Blea also reported that entry review panels, first established in 2019 at Santa Anita Park at the direction of Gov. Gavin Newsom to ensure that entered horses are fit to compete, now are in place at all tracks and that he and Dr. Grande are reviewing their processes to make them more efficient and standardized in the future.

The Board approved a regulation establishing rules for public participation at meetings, which largely reflect the procedures that have been in place, including limiting each unsolicited speaker to two minutes on each agenda item.

The Board approved an agreement with horse-racing-industry stakeholders modifying the distribution of Advance Deposit Wagering market access fees to supplement funding for CHRB support. The Board then approved the Fiscal Year 2021-22 agreement providing funding support for the CHRB.

The Board approved the change of ownership for the mini-satellite California Horse Racing & Sports, LLC, doing business as The Derby Room.

Public comments made during the meeting can be accessed through the meeting audio archive on the CHRB website.

CHRB Press Release

Photo: Scott Chaney, (CHRB photo)

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