California Horse Racing Board

Mandatory Jockey Breeding Rights Discussed at CHRB Meeting

The California Horse Racing Board's Jockey and Driver Welfare Committee held a relatively rare meeting Wednesday in Sacramento to discuss several items, including a novel and somewhat controversial proposal to require the granting of a one-time breeding right or season to the winning rider of a future stallion that wins certain California graded stakes. As the CHRB's meeting package points out, owners have typically given a stallion share to the regular rider and trainer of horses that retire to stud. But that voluntary practice "has evolved, some would say eroded,...

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Hollendorfer Loses First Phase of Trial Against Santa Anita

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has lost the first phase of his legal tussle against the Los Angeles Turf Club and The Stronach Group (TSG) controlled subsidiary owners of Santa Anita Park, according to a ruling filed Apr. 29 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court of California. The bifurcated non-jury trial, conducted between Apr. 4 and Apr. 6 this year, focused on a single declaratory relief cause of action, encompassing the proper legal interpretation of the race-meet contract between the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT) and the track. In all, Hollendorfer has...

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California First State to Opt Into HISA

California became the first state to opt into the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) enforcement structure on Thursday when the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) voted 7-0 to collect and remit fees on behalf of the new federal HISA Authority. For 2022, HISA has assessed California's portion of the Authority's budget to be $1.4 million, a figure that is based on starts and purses, and amounts to roughly 10% of the overall nationwide budget. It includes only the safety portion of the HISA program that will go into effect...

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Former CHRB Chairman Winner Dies

Courtesy California Horse Racing Board Chuck Winner, an internationally recognized expert in public affairs, crisis communications, and campaign management, who served on the California Horse Racing Board from 2012 to 2019, five of those years as chairman, passed away Thursday morning, Mar. 24, from natural causes at the age of 81. Mr. Winner guided the CHRB through difficult times, most notably during the winter of 2019 when a rash of equine fatalities at Santa Anita Park attracted worldwide scrutiny. He led the push for improved safety measures to protect horses...

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CHRB Meeting: HISA, Accident Taskforce, Betting Option Menu

Newly minted California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) member, Thomas Hudnot--an education consultant and a former racehorse owner--enjoyed a relatively smooth landing on his first public day on the job, with few of the highly combustible topics on the monthly commission meeting agenda that have lit the touch paper during any number of board meetings these past few years. The meeting, however, did signal a potential brewing storm in the shape of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act's scheduled implementation of its racetrack safety rules July 1. CHRB executive director, Scott...

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Stay Denied on Interim Suspension of Blea's Vet License

A hearing in the Los Angeles County Superior Court Wednesday morning resulted in a denial of sidelined California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) equine medical director Jeff Blea's request to stay the California Veterinary Medical Board's interim suspension of his veterinary license, meaning that the California horse racing industry continues to operate without its chief veterinarian at least for the near future. According to George Wallace, Blea's attorney, Judge James Chalfant was not persuaded by the argument that Blea and the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) would suffer irreparable harm if...

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Race Meet Agreement at Center of Hollendorfer, TSG April Trial

A trial on the long-gestating legal battle between trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and The Stronach Group (TSG), along with its subsidiary owners of Santa Anita Park, is scheduled for Apr. 4 in the County of Los Angeles Superior Court of California. The bifurcated non-jury trial, however, is focused on a single declaratory relief cause of action against TSG, encompassing the proper legal interpretation of the race-meet contract between the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT) and Santa Anita, and excludes some of Hollendorfer's broader causes of action. That second part of this bifurcated...

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Blea Seeks California Superior Court Relief From Suspension

Sidelined California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) equine medical director Jeff Blea has filed a writ of mandate with the California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles seeking to lift the California Veterinary Medical Board's interim suspension on his veterinary license. The court filing, dated Feb. 24, also seeks declarative and injunctive relief, arguing that the position of equine medical director does not require an active license, and that Blea, UC Davis and the CHRB will continue to suffer "irreparable harm" if California horse racing's head veterinarian remains unable...

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CHRB Completes Medina Spirit Postmortem Review

Edited Press Release Pursuant to California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Rule 1846.6, a Postmortem Examination Review (PER) was completed on the sudden death of Medina Spirit. This process takes place for every fatality occurring at a CHRB regulated facility and is performed by a team consisting of an Official Veterinarian, a safety steward, and a member of the Board of Stewards--in this case, Dr. Alina Vale, David Neusch (safety steward), and Kim Sawyer (steward). In all cases, the PER panel strives to learn the circumstances surrounding the fatality, which involves...

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Amended Accusations Set Ball Rolling Towards Blea Hearing

In an amended accusation, the California Veterinary Medical Board has revised its original set of complaints leveled against California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) equine medical director, Jeff Blea. The additional information, however, mostly "fine-tunes" what was included in the original accusation against Blea and doesn't change the "big picture," said George Wallace, Blea's attorney. According to various leading veterinary medical experts, that big picture is one largely of lax record keeping. What the amended accusation does, however, is set the ball rolling on a rough time-table leading to a full...

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Medina Spirit Necropsy: Cause of Death “Undetermined”

The cause of GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit's (Protonico) sudden death on Dec. 6 at Santa Anita remains undetermined, according to the findings of a necropsy on the horse. In a news release issued in tandem with the necropsy report Friday, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) stated that a "definitive cause of death was not established despite extensive testing." As per the CHRB news release, while omeprazole—an anti-ulcer medication—and the ubiquitous diuretic Lasix were detected in blood and urine samples, these findings were consistent with the medication report filed with CHRB...

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Medina Spirit Necropsy Report to Be Released Friday

Medina Spirit (Protonico)'s necropsy report will be released Friday at 9 a.m. PST, the California Horse Racing Board announced Thursday night. The GI Kentucky Derby winner died of an apparent heart attack following a workout Dec. 6 at Santa Anita. "The California Horse Racing Board with the cooperation of the University of California-Davis will be issuing a news release along with the Medina Spirit necropsy report at 9 a.m. to those receiving this advisory," the CHRB release said. The CHRB added that a Q&A via teleconference for credentialed news media...

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