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Cal Expo Meet Approved, Whipping Clarified

Published: August 27, 2016 1:26 am ET

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The California Horse Racing Board conducted its regular meeting on Thursday, August 25 at Del Mar’s Surfside Race Place.

Chairman Chuck Winner presided. Vice Chair Richard Rosenberg and Commissioners Madeline Auerbach, Steve Beneto, Jesse Choper, George Krikorian and Alex Solis also were in attendance.

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

· Seven individuals concerned about racehorse fatalities at Del Mar’s current meet addressed the Board during the comment period to express those concerns. CHRB Executive Director Rick Baedeker described some of the rules, policies and practices the CHRB has in place with respect to the safety of horses and riders. He and Chairman Winner assured the public that this Board’s primary objective is the health and safety of horses and riders.

· The Board approved a rolling three-year racing calendar for thoroughbred meets in Southern California as submitted by racetracks and horsemen and reflecting a multi-year agreement on racing and stabling. As part of the motion to approve, the Board reserves the right to annually alter the calendars as may be deemed necessary. The allocated dates for the 2017 racing season are: Santa Anita Park, December 21 (opening day December 26) through July 4; Los Alamitos, July 5 through July 18; Del Mar, July 19 through September 5; Los Alamitos, September 6 through September 26; Santa Anita, September 27 through October 31; Del Mar, November 1 through November 28; and Los Alamitos, November 29 through December 19. The 2018 and 2019 approved allocations mirror this sequence of dates with minor changes due to differences in the calendar and hosting of the Breeders’ Cup.

· The Race Dates Committee reported that stakeholders in Northern California have not reached agreement on a proposed calendar for 2017 or for 2018 and 2019. The Committee indicated that if racing associations, fairs, and horsemen do not submit a consensus calendar or calendars by the September 22 Board meeting, the Board will decide those dates.

· The Board approved the license application for the Los Angeles Turf Club to conduct a race meet at Santa Anita Park from September 28 through November 8. Joe Morris with the Stronach Group reported that a new video surveillance system will be in place for this meet covering every shedrow as well as other important horse traffic areas. The California Thoroughbred Trainers and Thoroughbred Owners of California have committed funds to this project. The Santa Anita system could become the model for other racetracks in the state.

· The Board approved the license application for the Pacific Racing Association to operate a race meet at Golden Gate Fields from October 19 through December 20. Golden Gate will continue using Pleasanton as an auxiliary training facility through the end of this year.

· The Board approved the license application for the Los Angeles County Fair race meet at Los Alamitos from September 7 through September 7. One highlight of this meet will be an appearance (not a race participant) by California Chrome on September 10, which has been proclaimed California Chrome Day.

· The Board approved the license application for the Watch and Wager LLC race meet at Cal Expo from October 1 through December 24. Harness racing will be offered on Friday and Saturday nights.

· The Board approved the license application to conduct a race meet of the Big Fresno Fair in Fresno from October 5 through October 18.

· The Board approved five nominees to sit on the Board of Directors of the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation: Angie Carmona, Dr. Victor Levine, Joe Morris, Calvin Rainey, and Damascus Castellanos.

· Jeff True representing AmTote provided an update on operations since the company began providing totalizator services for all California racetracks last fall. Several commissioners indicated they had received complaints from bettors about ticket jams and other malfunctions. True said AmTote deals with all complaints and makes significant changes in accordance with its contract with California stakeholders.

· The Board approved a regulatory amendment designed to curtail any excessive use of the whip during a harness race. The rule clarifies which actions shall be considered indiscriminate use of the whip and prohibits use of the whip more than three times in succession without giving the horse a chance to respond.

· The Board approved regulatory amendments for medication violation penalties, including a provision prohibiting licensees suspended for more than 30 days from transferring horses to employees.


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