Overlap Between Ferndale and Golden Gate Still in Limbo

A dispute that began in October over whether Ferndale (Humboldt County Fair) will once again have to run its second of two weeks of racing at the end of August against overlapping competition from the commercial licensee Golden Gate Fields (GGF) will now likely extend into March. There are multiple reasons for the impasse. But the two main sticking points that emerged at Thursday's California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) were: 1) The two tracks, plus stakeholders from the California Authority of Racing Fairs (CARF), Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), and...

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Trainer Mullins Suspended, Fined for Clenbuterol Positive in Del Mar Winner

Trainer Jeff Mullins has been suspended 30 days and fined $1,500 as the result of a "settlement agreement and mutual release" with the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) to adjudicate a clenbuterol positive triggered by one of his winning trainees at Del Mar last summer. The conditions of the agreement call for Mullins to serve 15 days of the suspension, with the remaining 15 days conditionally stayed. The stewards' ruling, dated Jan. 7, stated that Mullins is "placed on probation for ONE YEAR from the date of this ruling and...

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CHRB Spat Erupts Over Ferndale's Future

In the wake of a recent embezzlement arrest and a spate of resignations by Humboldt County Fair Association executives, California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) commissioner Thomas Hudnut on Thursday questioned whether or not the Northern California half-miler better known as Ferndale would be able to operate its traditional late-August race meet in 2023. Jim Morgan, the legal counsel for the Humboldt County Fair, immediately provided assurances that Ferndale's racing would not be affected by the in-process criminal audit and management shakeup. And another CHRB member, vice chair Oscar Gonzales, quickly...

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Baltas Suspended a Year, Fined $10,000 for Alleged Medication Violations

Trainer Richard Baltas is facing a one-year suspension and a $10,000 fine for the alleged race-day administration of substances to his horses 21 times over roughly a three-week span this past spring at Santa Anita Park, according to a ruling posted Friday on the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) website. Baltas told Daily Racing Form that he's "terribly disappointed" and plans to appeal. In a bit of an odd legal twist, timing-wise, Baltas is already engaged in a legal fight with the CHRB over essentially these very same allegations. Back...

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Hollendorfer Writs Denied in CHRB Case

The Superior Court of San Diego judge hearing the case between trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) has denied both writs of mandate filed by the trainer. The two writs constituted a twisty legal knot essentially surrounding which entity--the tracks or the agency regulating California's racing industry--had the ultimate jurisdiction to bar the trainer from licensed premises in the state, a hearing for which was held on Oct. 8. According to Hollendorfer's attorney, Drew Couto, both decisions are appealable, "and those decisions are under consideration." The...

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Trainer Doug O'Neill Suspended 60 Days

Trainer Doug O'Neill has been suspended 60 days, fined $10,000, and put on probation for one year stemming from a medication positive by his starter Worse Read Sanchez (Square Eddie) at Golden Gate Fields May 1, according to a ruling posted on the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) website. The 3-year-old gelding finished third in Golden Gate's Silky Sullivan S., his only start at the Northern California track. Worse Read Sanchez, who is owned by Reddam Racing LLC, has since made five additional starts at Santa Anita and Del Mar,...

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Hollendorfer, CHRB Hearing Played Out, Ruling Pending

The legal fallout from The Stronach Group's (TSG) decision to ban trainer Jerry Hollendorfer from its facilities in June of 2019 moved onto the San Diego County Superior Court earlier this month, with a hearing in the case between the trainer and the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB). The hearing Oct. 8 concerned two writs of mandate that Hollendorfer filed against the CHRB constituting an oftentimes complicated and convoluted legal knot essentially surrounding which entity--the tracks or the state agency--have the ultimate jurisdiction to bar the trainer from participating in...

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Jamgotchian Sues CHRB Over Name Controversy

Thoroughbred owner Jerry Jamgotchian, who has a decades-long history as both a plaintiff and defendant in lawsuits involving horse racing entities, went after the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) in federal court on Monday, claiming that his constitutional and civil rights were violated when the stewards at Los Alamitos Race Course denied entry to one of his horses this past summer over its purportedly controversial name. Although the Oct. 17 United States District Court (Central District, Southern Division) civil complaint puts forth a legal argument based on whether the horse...

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“Horrifically Wrong”: California VMB and Equine Practitioners at Odds

Last month marked the resumption of business as usual for Jeff Blea, back as California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) equine medical director after an eight-month plus enforced hiatus due to the California Veterinary Medical Board's (VMB) controversial step of suspending his license. In a settlement with the medical board, Blea agreed to continuing education classes in record keeping, a remittance to the VMB of $131,464 for the investigation costs, and a three-year probationary period. Those believing the return of Blea to his prior role would bring an end to the...

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CHRB Issues Advisory

Scott Chaney, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB)'s executive director, issued the following advisory on Sept. 21: "On April 21, 2021, the amended language to Rule 1588 (Horse Ineligible to Start in a Race) became effective. More specifically, that rule requires that in order to run, a horse must be on the grounds of a CHRB inclosure and in the care of a licensed trainer for seven days prior to the race. Horses cannot leave the grounds during this seven day period except to travel on a van between CHRB...

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Blea Officially Returns As CHRB Equine Medical Director

Jeff Blea formally resumed his duties as California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) equine medical director Wednesday, more than eight months after being sidelined from the post due to a rare and controversial move by the California Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) to have his license temporarily suspended for what transpired to be minor infractions. "What I've been through, I've learned a lot," Blea told the TDN over the weekend. "I need to get back to work for the CHRB because they've been extremely supportive. The horsemen, they've been extremely supportive. They...

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SoCal Dates Set; Cal Expo Could Race Nights in '23

The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) on Thursday approved a 2023 schedule for the Southern California circuit that largely mirrors this year's version. A final vote on the Northern California schedule was put off until the CHRB's October meeting. But one new idea floated for the NorCal circuit during the Sep. 15 meeting could involve the Cal Expo state fair meet running either twilight or night programs next year. Concerns over dangerously high temperatures during July, when Cal Expo is expected to receive its three-week block of dates, were cited...

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