Santa Anita Approved To Delay Meet Start, CHRB Medical Director Issues Heat-Stress Memo

August 22, 2020

The California Horse Racing Board conducted a meeting by teleconference on Thursday, August 20. The public participated by dialing into the teleconference and/or listening through the audio webcast link on the CHRB website. Vice Chairman Oscar Gonzales chaired the meeting, joined by Commissioners Dennis Alfieri, Damascus Castellanos, Wendy Mitchell, and Alex Solis.

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

Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, helped open the meeting with a discussion of the current heat wave in California and its effect on racehorses. Dr. Arthur explained that temperatures alone do not determine whether it is safe for horses to compete. He described the Heat Stress Index (HSI) as a more accurate method. He sent a memo this week to horsemen, track management, stewards, and veterinarians reminding them of how to use HSI and when to undertake heat-stress mitigation steps. That memo is posted on the CHRB website under Racing Safety.

The Board approved the license application for the Los Angeles Turf Club (LATC) to conduct a race meet at Santa Anita Park, with racing commencing Saturday, September 19, through Sunday, October 25. Aiden Butler, director of racing at Santa Anita, said although racing concludes September 7 at Del Mar, Santa Anita will be delaying the start of its meet by more than a week to give horses a rest and to ensure that all COVID-19 protocols are in place.

Concerning that meet at Santa Anita, the Board approved an agreement between LATC and the Thoroughbred Owners of California authorizing the racing secretary to set conditions on races, which will include limitations on Lasix and intra-articular medications.

Vice Chair Gonzales and Commissioner Mitchell reported on their Wednesday teleconference meeting of the Race Dates Committee. They indicated there is general agreement among stakeholders for 2021 date allocations, aside from a week here and there. If there is no agreement on those weeks, the committee will make a recommendation in the best interests of the racing industry at the September 24 meeting.

The Board authorized an exemption for fire clearance approval at Los Alamitos and an extension for such approval at San Luis Rey Downs training center based on evidence that both had clearances from local fire authorities, so the allowances only pertained to additional regulatory requirements.

The Board approved for 45-day public notice a proposed regulation establishing rules for public participation at meetings, which largely reflect the procedures that currently are in place, including limiting unsolicited speakers to two minutes each on agenda items.

The Board approved a requirement for practicing veterinarians to use an electronic on-line form prescribed by the Board when submitting their required veterinarian reports to the Official Veterinarian.

The Board approved an emergency amendment to better align CHRB drug classifications with those of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

The Board approved the re-election of three directors to the board of the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation: Angie Carmona, Dr. Victor Levine, and Eric Sindler.

The Board authorized Fasig-Tipton Co. to conduct a horse auction sale at Fairplex Park on October 19.

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

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