Changes In California Claiming Rules

Published: May 8, 2013 01:25 pm EDT

On Wednesday, May 8, the California Horse Racing Board announced that a change regarding claiming rules in the state will take effect on Thursday, May 16.

Claims (sales) will be voided in California beginning Thursday, May 16, whenever a claimed horse suffers a fatality or is placed on the Veterinarian’s List as lame or unsound after the race. The change to CHRB Rule 1658 was adopted by the California Horse Racing Board following a public hearing on February 23 and approved May 2 by the reviewing Office of Administrative Law.

Previously, the rule called for voiding a claim only “if the horse suffers a fatality during the running of the race (or) before the horse is returned to be unsaddled.” With the amendment, the stewards also will void a claim if “the racing or official veterinarian determines the horse will be placed on the Veterinarian’s List as unsound or lame before the horse is released to the successful claimant.”

During that public hearing in February, Vice Chairman Chuck Winner, who along with Commissioner Bo Derek serves on the Medication and Track Safety Committee, which developed and supported this amendment, explained that the rule is designed to protect horses, jockeys, and the integrity of racing.

The Board is delaying implementation of the amendment until May 16 to give the industry and the public advance notice and to make certain the stewards, veterinarians, and others involved in the process fully understand the change.

Under the new procedures, claimed horses will be examined after the race either by the CHRB official veterinarian in the receiving barn or by the track veterinarian in those instances when the horse is removed directly from the track by ambulance. If the CHRB official veterinarian or the track veterinarian determines a claimed horse is to be placed on the CHRB Veterinarian’s List as lame or unsound, the stewards will be notified and the claim voided by them.