California Horse Racing Board

Penalize Trainers for Equine Fatalities? The Ins and Outs

An indication of just how prickly an upcoming California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Medication, Safety, and Welfare Committee meeting discussion will likely be--one on potentially penalizing trainers for equine injuries and fatalities--can be evinced through a tweet the agency's spokesperson, Mike Marten, issued on Sept. 26. The digital missive goes: "Considerable interest in this Oct. 19 CHRB committee agenda item: 'Discussion regarding the advisability of penalizing trainers for injuries and fatalities for horses in their care.' Emphasis on the word 'discussion.' Very early in a complicated process." A "complicated process"...

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Stronach Group Warns About Buzzer Use in Training and Racing

September was a busy month for buzzers. On Sept. 15, the Monmouth Park board of stewards suspended jockey Tomas Mejia for 10 years and fined him $5,000 for possessing an electrical device--commonly referred to as a "buzzer"--during a race run there Sept. 3. That same day at Indiana Grand, leading Quarter Horse jockey, Sammy Mendez, was "summarily suspended for actions not in the best interest of racing," and is awaiting a full hearing before the track's board of stewards. According to the Paulick Report, the suspension is connected to use...

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O'Neill, Miller Combine For Trio Of 4C Drug Rulings Within Past Week

Two-time GI Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O'Neill got fined $2,000 for a pair of methocarbamol positives at Santa Anita Park in May and June, one in a race and the other in a workout. According to a Sept. 6 ruling published within the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) weekly stewards' report for Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, the two cases were combined into one because "O'Neill was not aware of the first medication positive [May 30] when the second complaint [June 3] was served by CHRB enforcement." Methocarbamol is a Class...

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Record-Setting Del Mar Meet Hits on All Cylinders

Ask David Jerkens, Del Mar's racing secretary, what he considers a key ingredient to the success of the coastal venue's latest summer season, which wrapped Monday, and his answer is a testament to the early bird. "There was lots of enthusiasm--I could go way back to March, when my phone was ringing with questions regarding our 'Ship & Win' program," said Jerkens, of a particular bait, now into its 11th year, used to hook out-of-state runners. "I just felt that buzz around Del Mar earlier than normal." All told, the...

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New CHRB Transparency Issues Arise in McAnally CBD Investigation

Oscar Gonzales, the vice chair of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), wants to know why commissioners weren't informed earlier this year about a pending cannabidiol (CBD) positive complaint against Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally, a case that was in the midst of a six-month investigation by CHRB staff even as commissioners were being asked to approve a seemingly routine annual reclassification of drugs that included CBD. "On that list of drugs that were to be reclassified was CBD, the drug that was detected in [the McAnally-trained Roses and...

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McAnally Runner Tests Positive For CBD

The Ron McAnally trained Roses and Candy has tested positive for 7-Carboxy-Cannabidiol, a metabolite of cannabidiol, after a win at Del Mar on Nov. 22 last year, according to a complaint filed by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Monday. Because CBD is currently unclassified in California, a positive finding is by default a class 1, category A drug violation, requiring that the horse is disqualified and purse monies forfeited. Under CHRB rules, such a violation can also lead to a minimum one-year suspension or a maximum three-year suspension, with...

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The Week in Review: Latest Crisis Descends on Sport, Baffert

The week between the GI Kentucky Derby and the GI Preakness S. is typically a quiet one, and this year the racing industry was basking in the glow of an exciting and safe Derby headlined by a feel-good story: Medina Spirit (Protonico), a hard-battling underdog any average joe could have purchased at public auction as a $1,000 yearling, had unexpectedly won the Run for the Roses under the care of seven-time Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert, and was heading to Baltimore as a likeable overachiever trying to win the second jewel...

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Bisphosphonate Complaint Issued Against Metz By CHRB

A complaint involving a banned bisphosphonate has been lodged by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) against trainer Jeffrey Metz, summoning him to a stewards' hearing. According to a CHRB complaint dated Apr. 29, a positive for tiludronic acid was confirmed via split-sample testing from Camino de Estrella (Mineshaft), who finished sixth in the third race Sept. 27, 2020, at Santa Anita. The now-7-year-old gelding was claimed that day for $20,000, and has finished no better than sixth in four subsequent starts for a four-way partnership that includes trainer Bill...

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After Blip, CHRB Commissioner Mitchell Reappointed
After Blip, CHRB Commissioner Mitchell Reappointed

In a session Thursday, the California State Senate voted to reappoint commissioner Wendy Mitchell to the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB). Mitchell was reappointed by a vote of 23-7, needing 21 votes to succeed. Thursday's vote follows Mitchell's prior failed bid for reappointment earlier in the month, when, after a period of extensive lobbying on the senate floor, she 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...

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Revised CHRB Whip Penalties On Target For BC, Largely With Guild's Blessing

In an attempt to get a revised whip violations penalty scheme on the books before Del Mar hosts the Nov. 5-6 Breeders' Cup, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Wednesday advanced a rule amendment that mostly has the blessing of The Jockeys' Guild because it strips out a previously controversial proposal that would have docked jockeys 50% of purse earnings if they over-whipped while finishing first, second or third in graded stakes. That purse penalization had been proposed by the CHRB in March in an attempt to disincentivize riders from...

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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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