Oscar Gonzales

Seven Equine Fatalities in March Raises Caution, but Not Alarm, from CHRB

In the wake of news that seven racehorses at properties under the jurisdiction of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) died in March, several commissioners and staffers at Thursday's monthly board meeting raised the verbal equivalent of a yellow flag with the goal of preventing future fatalities that would equate to a spike into red-alert territory. "Our injury rate, death rate, is creeping up," chairman Gregory Ferraro, DVM, said after CHRB equine medical director Jeff Blea gave the statistics in his report. "Do you have any solutions, reasons, comments about...

[ 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 ]
CHRB Vice-Chair: 1/ST Racing 'Doing Things That Are Detrimental to California Racing'

Although the recently reported purse cuts for the upcoming meets at Golden Gate Fields (25%) and Santa Anita Park (5%) were not on Thursday's official agenda for the monthly California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) meeting, the commission's vice-chairman, Oscar Gonzales, made it clear that the owner of both tracks, 1/ST Racing and Gaming, was going to face some tough questioning on the topic when the CHRB next convenes in January. TDN's Dan Ross had reported Dec. 9 that Golden Gate is overpaid to the horsemen's account by some $3.1 million...

[ Read More ]
California's Purse-Cut Woes Driving Horses To Turf Paradise

Turf Paradise, which only weeks ago seemed either destined to remain dormant and in disrepair or perhaps even ready to face the wrecking ball, appears to be in the midst of orchestrating a remarkable comeback. Track management, horsemen, and regulators all expressed confidence and a renewed sense of optimism during Thursday's Arizona Racing Commission (AZRC) meeting that the Phoenix track was on target to hit a Jan. 29 start date for the first commercial-track meet in the state since May. Several stakeholders underscored during the Dec. 14 meeting that a...

[ Read More ]
Del Mar to Trim Fall Meet Purses in 3-11% Range

Purses at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club are getting a haircut for the 13-date fall meet that spans Nov. 10-Dec. 3. Del Mar executives speaking about the meet at Thursday's California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) meeting did not initially mention the purse cuts when making their standard presentation for licensure, which the CHRB unanimously granted. But Del Mar's president, Josh Rubinstein, detailed the reductions when directly queried about the state of purses by CHRB vice chair Oscar Gonzales. "We have reduced purses slightly for this fall meet," Rubinstein said. "[We're] coming...

[ Read More ]
CHRB Sets '24 NorCal Schedule, but GGF's Closure Remains 'Elephant in the Room'

The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) on Thursday approved a calendar that fleshed out the Northern California racing schedule through mid-September 2024. But the initiative still left race-date gaps late in the year that must be addressed both for next season and the future as stakeholders and regulators attempt to realign the circuit in the wake of news that Golden Gate Fields will not be part of the racing landscape beyond next June. Back on July 16, 1/ST Racing, which owns both Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields, announced...

[ Read More ]
Ferndale Grandstand Deemed Unsafe For August Meet

The operators of the Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale, California, are scrambling for a solution after just finding out this week that an earthquake from six months ago so badly damaged the grandstand at the half-mile racetrack that county officials now won't permit the structure to be occupied for the six-day race meet Aug. 18-20 and 25-27. Larry Swartzlander, who serves as both the executive director California Authority of Racing Fairs (CARF) and the director of racing for Ferndale, told the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) during Thursday's meeting that...

[ Read More ]
'22 California Schedule Could Include One-Week Break

As the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) begins the planning process for crafting 2022 race dates on both the Southern and Northern circuits, it appears as if there is some consensus for including a one-week break with no racing, although no exact time frame for any proposed hiatus has been publicly identified. At Wednesday's monthly meeting, CHRB vice chair Oscar Gonzales updated the full board on the two-hour dates subcommittee teleconference that took place Tuesday and included representatives from tracks and horsemen's groups. "We obviously didn't take a vote on...

[ Read More ]
Dr. Rick Arthur Q&A: Part Two
Dr. Rick Arthur Q&A: Part Two

After 15 years as California's equine medical director, Dr. Rick Arthur has stepped away from the post. A vocal proponent of tightened welfare practices in the sport, Arthur has spearheaded during his tenure a slew of equine safety reforms that have made California arguably the most stringent regulatory environment in the States. Arthur's forthrightness, however, has led to him staking out positions that have at times proven polarizing. The day after Arthur officially stepped down, he conducted a Q&A with the TDN, the first part of which can be seen...

[ Read More ]
New CHRB Transparency Issues Arise in McAnally CBD Investigation
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...

[ Read More ]
In CHRB Reversal, Los Al Gets Year-Long QH License
In CHRB Reversal, Los Al Gets Year-Long QH License

The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) voted 4-3 Jan. 21 to grant Los Alamitos Race Course a full-year Quarter Horse racing license for 2021, superseding a 5-1 vote from last month that awarded only a six-month license out of concerns that management wasn't doing enough to mitigate the 29 equine deaths that occurred at the track in 2020. In the immediate aftermath of that controversial interim licensure in December, Los Al owner Ed Allred had threatened to close his track and develop the property for a purpose other than racing,...

[ Read More ]
No Action–Yet Again–By CHRB On Whip Construction Standards

For the second straight month, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) has postponed voting on a motion pertaining to the exact specifications of whips that jockeys and exercise riders would be allowed to use. After 35 minutes of input from jockeys and the public at Thursday's monthly meeting in Sacramento, the board made a unanimous 4-0 vote to table the measure. Several CHRB members cited a desire to seek broader input that they hoped would help fine-tune the proposed amendments to CHRB Rule 1685. That was the same reasoning given...

[ Read More ]
X

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.