California Horse Racing Board

Miller Fined $500 for Class 4 Positive

Trainer Peter Miller, currently third in wins and fourth in earnings at Santa Anita Park, has been fined $500 for a Class 4 finding of isoflupredone that was confirmed via split-sample testing when his trainee, Hembree (Proud Citizen), won the GII Joe Hernandez S. at 5-1 odds Jan. 1. Isoflupredone is an injectable steroid primarily administered for anti-inflammatory effects. The drug's 4C categorization is on the less-severe side of the scale of the Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances list published by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. According to...

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Political Climate in California

At the start of last month, a small cadre of animal rights protestors snuck onto the Golden Gate Fields racetrack, lay down with arms interlocked in pipes, and halted live racing--as well as a vaccination drive on facility grounds--until police intervention saw their removal. While the incident had a flash-in-the-pan quality, it had the corollary effect of reminding those within the sport here in the Golden State of the somewhat precarious position in which it still finds itself--an important part of the economic puzzle, employing tens of thousands, but one...

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CHRB Commissioner Mitchell Fails In Reappointment Bid

In a vote Monday, California State Senators decided against reappointing commissioner Wendy Mitchell to the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), as first reported in the Los Angeles Times. According to the Times, Mitchell was headed for confirmation early Monday afternoon, but after a period of extensive lobbying on the senate floor, she subsequently lost the vote on a 17-20 denial. Mitchell has served on the CHRB since 2019 and has been principal of WM Consulting Inc. since 2006. Prior to her tenure on the CHRB, Mitchell served on the California...

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CHRB's Plans to Overhaul Whip-Violation Penalties Tabled for Now

As anti-whipping rules continue to evolve nationwide, one problem area that has emerged is the fairness of penalization. Do the various systems of fines and suspensions match the severity of the violations? Or, put more directly, are there ample deterrents on the books to keep a jockey from totally disregarding the number of times and manner in which a Thoroughbred is struck with the whip if the rewards of winning an important graded stakes like a Breeders' Cup race far outweigh the comparatively small dent a penalty might make in...

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Class 4 Drug Complaint Issued Against Miller After Grade II Win

Trainer Peter Miller, currently tied for first in wins in the Santa Anita Park standings, has been summoned to a hearing with the track's stewards to answer a California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) complaint for a Class 4, Penalty Category C drug violation after isoflupredone was confirmed via split-sample testing his trainee, Hembree (Proud Citizen), when the 7-year-old won the GII Joe Hernandez S. at 5-1 odds Jan. 1. Isoflupredone is an injectable steroid primarily administered for anti-inflammatory effects. The drug's 4C categorization is on the less-severe side of the...

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Economic Shortfalls, Safety Improvements In CHRB Report

The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) has released its annual report, covering both the fiscal year 2019-2020 and the calendar year 2020. As expected, given the onslaught of a global pandemic, it paints a rather grim economic picture, but there are major positives to be gleaned, chiefly in the equine safety arena. When it comes to the business side of the equation, all-breed total handle generation during 2020 declined by 7% over the prior year. Because of a wholesale shift away from bricks and mortar wagering towards ADW platforms last...

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Jeff Blea Named CHRB's Next Equine Medical Director

Dr. Jeff Blea will become the veterinary voice of the California Horse Racing Board upon the long-planned retirement of Dr. Rick Arthur from the position of Equine Medical Director (EMD). Dr. Gregory Ferraro, chairman of CHRB and a former equine veterinarian himself on the southern circuit, described Dr. Blea as "a nationally known and widely respected equine veterinarian" and said Blea "is recognized for his clear thinking and fairness in his decision making." Under contract arrangements between the CHRB and the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) at the University of...

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In CHRB Reversal, Los Al Gets Year-Long QH License

The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) voted 4-3 Jan. 21 to grant Los Alamitos Race Course a full-year Quarter Horse racing license for 2021, superseding a 5-1 vote from last month that awarded only a six-month license out of concerns that management wasn't doing enough to mitigate the 29 equine deaths that occurred at the track in 2020. In the immediate aftermath of that controversial interim licensure in December, Los Al owner Ed Allred had threatened to close his track and develop the property for a purpose other than racing,...

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The Good, Bad and Ugly of 2020 in California

Most, I'm sure, will have seen the television advertisement for an online dating site that's as on-the-nose as a well-placed left hook. In it, Satan falls in love with the year 2020, played by a hellraiser masquerading as the girl-next-door. As flaming asteroids pelt the earth, Satan and 2020 watch on while lamenting the imminent turn of the calendar. "I just don't want this year to end," says Satan, wistfully. Wistful nostalgia is hardly something many will be feeling when they eventually look back over this annus horribilis--yet somehow, it...

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The Week in Review: Could Breakage be Used to Pay for Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act?

As the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act resurfaced last week as part of an omnibus spending bill passed by the House and Senate, the same questions were being asked all over again. What will the new way of doing things cost and who is going to pay for it? All anyone really knows at this point is that the states will be expected to foot the bill and their share will depend on how much racing there is in each state. Kentucky, with year-round racing, will have to pay more...

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Los Alamitos Owner Threatens to Close Track

According to reports in the Los Angeles Times and The BloodHorse, Los Alamitos owner Dr. Ed Allred told the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Thursday that he plans on withdrawing his application to run Thoroughbred and nighttime Quarter Horse races in 2021. Allred said he would look to convert the Los Alamitos property to real estate. Allred made the announcement after the CHRB voted to grant the track a six-month license instead of a license for a full year. The decision to give Los Alamitos what amounted to only an...

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No Lasix for Most Santa Anita, Del Mar, Golden Gate Stakes in 2021

Lasix will now be barred through at least 2021 in the vast majority of stakes races at California's three major commercial tracks--Santa Anita Park, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, and Golden Gate Fields. The Lasix ban was part of a revised race-day medication agreement between the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) and the managements of those three tracks. The California Horse Racing Board voted unanimously Dec. 17 to approve the terms of that medication agreement for the upcoming Santa Anita and Golden Gate meets. The Del Mar-specific commission approval will presumably...

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