california racing

CHRB June Meeting: Funding Fight Resolved, CAW Discussed, Elite Turf Club To Open Fiscal Books For Scrutiny

It was déjà vu all over again at June's California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) meeting. Three months after a contentious meeting that saw board members vote unanimously to give race dates to Pleasanton Racetrack for a Thoroughbred meet this fall (in opposition to the wishes of Southern California track operators), the CHRB wrestled with another weighty conundrum: How to fund horse racing in California for the next fiscal year. Ultimately, the board approved what was termed a "compromise" funding model that will see each racing association cover the "direct costs"...

[ Read More ]
Golden Gate Fields: Dispatches From A Track Facing the End

GOLDEN GATE FIELDS, CA -- On bright June mornings at the end of training when a cool breeze is skimmed from the top of San Francisco Bay, Golden Gate Fields suspends in midair. The remaining horses gallop by almost silently, save for a sound like the ripple of a kite tugging at a string. Behind them, the infield water fountains shiver and hiss while above, western gulls turn and wheel on invisible wires. It's a world contained--its shoulder braced against the whirring cogs of time, straining against the pull. Then...

[ Read More ]
Drayden Van Dyke Shifts Tack to Gulfstream

Former Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey Drayden Van Dyke, a mainstay in Southern California, will move his tack to Gulfstream Park for 30 days to ride for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. The multiple Grade I-winning rider and his agent, Ryan Cosato, will then evaluate where Van Dyke will be based in the future. "We'll bring him out there for about a month," said Cosato. "If he does well, we'll go from there. There's no big announcement. We're just giving it a try." Van Dyke took a break from riding for a...

[ Read More ]
Northern CA Advisory Committee Formally Recognized By CARF

The California Authority of Racing Fairs has formally recognized a group of owners, breeders and trainers in Northern California to serve as an advisory committee for the upcoming Pleasanton race meet. According to a press release, the committee has been informally in place since the announcement of the closure of Golden Gate Fields. The group will work with representatives in the industry to "address challenges and opportunities in real time and ensure that future CARF decisions have the collective support of the industry stakeholders." "Our Advisory Committee has the experience...

[ Read More ]
Following CHRB Race Dates Decision, What's Next For California?

The way California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) chair Greg Ferraro describes it, the now infamous letter in which 1/ST Racing and Gaming appeared to threaten the sale of Santa Anita should the board grant the North its desired 2024 race dates was "a very big mistake" on their part--one that helped sway the board's unanimous decision to side with interests in the Northern half of the state. "It really put a bad taste in the mouths of board members," Ferraro said. Beforehand, Ferraro had anticipated punting a decision on the...

[ Read More ]
Brad Cox Joins TDN Writers' Room Podcast

Brad Cox won four stakes races over the weekend, including the GII Louisiana Derby and the GII Fair Grounds Oaks. But such a run of success has almost come to be expected from a trainer who never seems to have a bad week. Cox will arrive at Churchill Downs with an army of stakes-caliber horses, including threats for the GI Kentucky Derby and the GI Kentucky Oaks. The multiple Eclipse Award winning conditioner was our special guest on this week's TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland. He was this...

[ Read More ]
Letter to the Editor: Alan French

First, the CHRB was put in a no-win situation. To paraphrase Board Chairman Dr. Gregory Ferraro, half of the state was going to be mad at the CHRB regardless of how they voted. And frankly, it is very sad that it even came to that, as I will explain in more detail momentarily. While it is clear that the recent letter sent by Craig Fravel did not sit well with them, it seems that the Board understood the ramifications of not having racing in the North. Meaning that it would...

[ Read More ]
CHRB Unanimously Approves Plan to Make Pleasanton New Center of NorCal Circuit

The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) voted 6-0 on Thursday to approve a dates package for the back half of 2024 that will establish the current fairs-meet-only track at Pleasanton as the new crux of a Northern California circuit. The entire state has been trying to come to grips with the looming June 9 closure of Golden Gate Fields, the lone commercial track in the region, and the Mar. 21 vote by the CHRB was viewed as a NorCal racing lifeline by the estimated 250 supporters in attendance. Those very...

[ Read More ]
Computer Assisted Wagering: Anatomy Of A Deal

A deal that Del Mar has made with a titan of Computer Assisted Wagering (CAW) provides a rare glimpse into the tremendous sway that individual players can wield over track and racing officials, the potentially lopsided economic ramifications of such deals, and the tremendous pressures that California executives are under with competing jurisdictions that enjoy purse subsidies not available in the Golden State. It also turns a spotlight onto a world largely hidden from the public eye-one that industry leaders are generally loathe to discuss publicly, and in which just...

[ Read More ]
Dr. Ronald Jensen, Former Equine Medical Director For CHRB Passes Away

Dr. Ronald Jensen, who served 10 years as equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board through 2005, passed away at his home Feb. 12, according to a Thursday release from the CHRB. Dr. Jensen received his DVM from Iowa State University in 1962 and MS in 1963. He worked as a racing regulatory veterinarian for 42 years, serving as a commission veterinarian for the Illinois Racing Board for 32 years, and for 10 years with the CHRB under an agreement with the University of California, Davis. He then...

[ Read More ]
Vocal Two-Circuit Supporters in Cali Come Out Firing in First of Many Expected North/South Skirmishes

The precarious, up-in-the-air future of California racing and whether or not the state can continue to support two geographic year-round circuits was made no clearer after Thursday's California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) meeting. The 3 1/2-hour session was dominated by discussion of competing North-versus-South plans that both tried to carve a sustainable path forward while underscoring the dire circumstances that face the industry with the June 9 closure of Golden Gate Fields looming like an unavoidable asteroid. Although the CHRB concluded the meeting--which featured testimony that was at times emotional,...

[ Read More ]
The Chosen Vron Back For More This Weekend

Don Valpredo is to Cal-breds what tungsten is to steel. "I absolutely love the training industry and the breeding industry here," said Vapredo, 85, over the phone from Bakersfield. "In fact, I'm sitting here today with the Stallion Register on my lap, trying to find the right mix for my broodmares." When Valpredo hasn't been producing Cal-breds--along with John Harris, he's responsible for 1994 California Horse of the Year, Soviet Problem--he's sought to popularize them through multiple warmed seats on multiple industry boards over multiple decades. They even named a...

[ Read More ]

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.