The California Horse Racing Board held a meeting on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 at the Cal Expo in Sacramento. The meeting was chaired by Chairman Gregory Ferraro, who was joined by Vice Chairman Oscar Gonzales and Commissioners Damascus Castellanos and Brenda Washington Davis.
An audio recording of the entire Board meeting is available on the CHRB website (www.chrb.ca.gov) under the Webcast link. Briefly:
- Various speakers addressed the current situation with the Horseracing Safety and Integrity Act/Authority (HISA), given the recent court ruling that HISA is unconstitutional. The matter, which is in legal limbo, has caused confusion in some racing jurisdictions, but Deputy Executive Director Cynthia Alameda said that is not the case in California, according to a CHRB advisory issued Nov. 18. “Unless and until the federal court decides the case, CHRB will continue to honor its agreement with HISA and enforce all federal rules,” she said. “The CHRB will continue to negotiate with HISA and its enforcement body, Drug Free Sports International, on agreements for the upcoming 2023 calendar year, focusing on our shared principle of promoting safety in horse racing.” The CHRB has been enforcing the federal safety rules since their implementation on July 1, 2022, and will begin enforcing the federal medication and drug testing rules once they take effect, which is expected to begin on January 1, 2023. CHRB General Counsel Amanda Brown pointed out that if HISA successfully does not perform a reversal or delay the court ruling, will take effect on January 10, so the CHRB will operate under federal rules for at least 10 days.
Dr. Jeff Blea, an equine physician, said that even if the enforcement program reverts back to California rules after Jan. 10, the effect will be minimal in California because “the HISA safety program and drug rules are not very different from where California is. .” Dr. Blea said that when he attended a recent national conference, he was approached by other veterinarians with many questions about how the CHRB regulates drugs and drug testing. He said they asked how they could make their programs safer and better in the same way they did in California.
As in May, to bring California into line with federal rules governing horse racing safety, commissioners voted unanimously to enter into a voluntary agreement, this time to enforce HISA’s drug and drug testing rules with an anticipated Jan. 1 start date.
- Dr. Blea also reported on a pilot program currently underway at Los Alamitos Racetrack to find a way to proactively identify any problems in the lumbar areas of the approximately 20 horses participating in the program. “Lum fractures are a problem in Quarter Horses,” he explained. The program uses ultrasound in combination with physical examinations to try to identify lesions that could lead to catastrophic injuries, said Dr. Edward Allred, owner of Los Alamitos, has paid for the program so far, but new future funding sources will be needed.
- The Board approved an emergency amendment to Rule 1867, Prohibited Veterinary Practices, clarifying that the use or possession of compounded drugs is not a violation of Rule 1867 when done in an approved manner. Clarification of the regulation provides guidance to licensees and prevents misinterpretation by other regulatory agencies.
- The board renewed the licenses of six companies to continue to provide California Account Wagering (ADW) platforms. TVG, Twinspires, NYRAbets, Lien Games, Watchandwager.com and the Game Play Network (GPN) have all received two-year licenses with the caveat that their renewal in 2024 will require each but GPN to have customer identification procedures in place. alternative selections in case of scratches in bets involving four or more legs (Pick ‘n’). GPN does not offer any betting of this type. The license for Xpressbet will be considered in December. Xpressbet is the only ADW company that already allows alternative withdrawals.
- The board approved various agreements between Santa Anita, Golden Gate Fields and Los Alamitos with their horse racing organizations that authorize racing secretaries to set conditions for races regarding drugs and procedures.
- The Board of Directors has approved the license for Los Alamitos Race Course to host a thoroughbred race that will run from December 9-18. This day meeting will run concurrently with the night Quarter Horse race.
- The board also approved a license for a Quarter Horse meeting at Los Alamitos to run from December 31, 2022 to December 17, 2023.
- The board approved the Pacific Racing Association’s license to hold a thoroughbred race meeting at Golden Gate Fields from December 26, 2022 to June 11, 2022.
- The board approved a license for the Los Angeles Turf Club to host a thoroughbred race at Santa Anita Park, which will run from December 26, 2022 to June 18, 2022. The license application was amended to allow for a non-racing day in December. 27 and race day on January 2. Santa Anita will not race from April 10 to April 21, giving horses and licensees a break in accordance with CHRB policy.
- Representatives of the newly formed California Horse Power Coalition announced the coalition’s mission to preserve and protect California’s equestrian culture by bringing together horse industry leaders, workers, families and fans of the sport to illustrate its significant benefits. The Coalition may sometimes approach the CHRB for assistance in this effort, as well as present potential policy recommendations to the Board for consideration.
- The board approved the distribution of four race day charities to named recipients, namely $14,249 from the Pacific Racing Association to nine recipients, $82,134 from the Los Angeles Turf Club to 10 recipients, $4,584 from the Los Alamitos Racing Association to four recipients, and $5,083. from the Los Alamitos Quarter Horse Association to four recipients.