california racing

Bill Nader Joins the TDN Writers' Room

Bill Nader, who current serves as an executive with the Hong Kong Jockey Club and will soon take on the role of President and CEO of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, joined this week's TDN Writers' Room to share his experiences with Japanese racing and talk about how he hopes to improve upon racing in California.

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Bill Nader Named Next TOC President, CEO

Bill Nader has agreed to join the Thoroughbred Owners of California as President and Chief Executive Officer, the organization announced today. Nader's appointment will take effect in October of this year. He succeeds Greg Avioli who resigned earlier this year. Nader, 64, joins the TOC from the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), where he has held senior executive positions since 2007. Prior to that, Nader was the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the New York Racing Association, where he was employed from 1994-2007. "Given his experience both...

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Weight Breaks for California Jockeys in Pipeline

Following through on a discussion started at last month's meeting, California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) advanced Thursday a rule amendment designed to provide jockeys with weight breaks that are more in line with 21st Century human physiology. By unanimous vote, the CHRB proposed Thoroughbred rule changes that would raise the minimum weight for established riders from 112 pounds to 114 pounds in overnight races (subject to apprentice allowances) and from 103 to 105 pounds in handicap and stakes races. The board also advanced a separate amendment that would reduce the...

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Weekly Stewards and Commissions Rulings: June 7 – June 13

Every week, the TDN publishes a roundup of key official rulings from the primary tracks within the four major racing jurisdictions of California, New York, Florida and Kentucky. Here's a primer on how each of these jurisdictions adjudicates different offenses, what they make public (or not) and where.   CALIFORNIA Track: Santa Anita Date: 06/10/2022 Licensee: Jessica Pyfer, jockey Penalty: Three-day suspension Violation: Careless riding Explainer: Jockey Jessica Pyfer, who rode Picture of a Lady in the first race at Santa Anita Park on June 5, 2022, is suspended for...

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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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Martinelli Named Golden Gate Racing Secretary Through End of Meet

Golden Gate Fields has tapped Steve Martinelli as their Racing Secretary through the end of the meet on June 12, 2022, replacing Patrick Mackey effective immediately. Martinelli has spent the last seven years as the Assistant Racing Secretary for Golden Gate Fields and is a veteran of the Northern California racing community, having spent the last 15 years working for the Albany track.

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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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Bay Area Trainer Delia Passes Away

Longtime west coast trainer and former jockey William 'Bill' Delia died Thursday due to the complications of COVID-19. He was 75 years old. Born Dec. 5, 1946, he began his apprenticeship as a jockey in 1966. After a race-riding career in which he piloted 304 winners, Delia switched to training. Beginning in 1985, his career spanned over four decades, winning 975 races from 7,952 starters, with his runners amassing purse earnings of $16,735,424. The Bay area native was honored with the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association (CTBA) Trainer of the Year...

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2021 California Handle & Purses by the Numbers

California's purse and handle numbers are in, and after the pandemic-stricken figures of last year, there's plenty of reason for encouragement. A 13% increase in California races over 2020 translated into a 17% increase in all source handle and a 19% increase in purse generation. "Handle is up everywhere, including Southern California, which generated really nice purses for us in 2021," said Gary Fenton, chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC). "It's created this momentum for us," Fenton said, pointing to the purse enhancements offered by Santa Anita and...

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California to Implement Exercise Rider Certification Program

In what is believed a first such program in the country, California's exercise riders will soon be required to pass an "Exercise Rider Certification" course to remain eligible for coverage under the state racing industry's Post Time self-insured workers' compensation program. The course consists of seven upper body, lower body and cardiovascular exercises, prefaced upon the British National Racing College's jockey fitness test. Exercise riders have until Mar. 31 to pass the exam. After that date, "Post Time members will only be able to employ Post Time certified Exercise Riders...

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Weekly Stewards and Commissions Rulings: Jan. 3-10

Every week, the TDN publishes a roundup of key official rulings from the primary tracks within the four major racing jurisdictions of California, New York, Florida and Kentucky. Here's a primer on how each of these jurisdictions adjudicates different offenses, what they make public and where. California Track: Santa Anita Date: 01/07/2022 Licensee: Andreas Psarras, trainer Penalty: $500 Violation: Medication violation Explainer: Trainer Andreas Psarras, who started the horse House of Targaryen, who finished fifth in the sixth race at Santa Anita Park Oct. 10, 2021, is fined $500.00 and assessed one half...

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Equine Medical Director Blea Placed on Administrative Leave by UC Davis

Jeff Blea, California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) equine medical director, has been placed on administrative leave by UC Davis pending a formal review of his veterinary license, according to Blea's attorney, George Wallace. The story was first reported by the Los Angeles Times. The California Veterinary Medical Board last week announced that an emergency hearing had resulted in an interim suspension of Blea's veterinary license for a number of alleged offenses, including purportedly administering "dangerous drugs" to racehorses without a prior examination, without forming a diagnosis and without medical necessity....

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