Scott Chaney

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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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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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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CHRB Backs Blea Ahead of 'Dangerousness' Hearing

Three members of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), plus the agency's executive director, on Thursday advocated for the reinstatement of temporarily suspended CHRB equine medical director Jeff Blea on the eve of his hearing before the California Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) to rule on a list of allegations that include administering "dangerous drugs" to racehorses without examination or medical necessity. "For my own two cents as chairman, I think that the issues surrounding Dr. Jeff Blea brought forth by the veterinary medical board are both ill-advised and slanderous," said...

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CHRB Responds to VMB Suspension of Dr. Blea

In response to the actions brought by the California Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) against Dr. Jeff Blea, Equine Medical Director, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) issued a statement Thursday morning regarding the interim suspension order of his license. The investigation into the death of GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonico) will now be headed by the executive associate dean of UC Davis' School of Veterinary Medicine. "Given the sensitive and very public nature of the necropsy and resulting investigation into the death of Medina Spirit, and in keeping...

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Feinstein Asks for 'Thorough, Transparent Investigation' Into Medina Spirit's Death

California Senator Dianne Feinstein called on the California Horse Racing Board to conduct a "thorough, transparent and independent investigation" into the death of GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonico) in a letter to CHRB Executive Director Scott Chaney sent from her office Monday. The letter reads: "As the California Horse Racing Board proceeds with the investigation into the jarring death of Medina Spirit, I urge you to ensure such efforts are thorough, transparent, and independent of any outside influence. Further, I ask that you provide my staff with regular...

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Penalize Trainers for Equine Fatalities? The Ins and Outs

An indication of just how prickly an upcoming California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Medication, Safety, and Welfare Committee meeting discussion will likely be--one on potentially penalizing trainers for equine injuries and fatalities--can be evinced through a tweet the agency's spokesperson, Mike Marten, issued on Sept. 26. The digital missive goes: "Considerable interest in this Oct. 19 CHRB committee agenda item: 'Discussion regarding the advisability of penalizing trainers for injuries and fatalities for horses in their care.' Emphasis on the word 'discussion.' Very early in a complicated process." A "complicated process"...

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Safety Initiatives Paying Off in California

Edited Press Release The state of California has seen a 50% decline in equine fatalities over the last two fiscal years, owing to steps taken by the industry to increase safety at the state's racetracks. In fiscal year 2018-2019, a total of 144 horses died from racing or training injuries or other causes while stabled at CHRB facilities. The number dropped to 72 in fiscal year 2020-2021. According to information provided by the California Horse Racing Board, equine fatalities have been trending downward since 2005, but the last fiscal year...

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CHRB Meeting Highlights NorCal Race Dates

The June California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) meeting put to bed a problem that has been brewing for a few months in the North of California. Due to the fallout from COVID-19, and the ongoing issues surrounding stabling and staff accommodation in the north of California, commissioners voted to switch the three-week State Fair--scheduled to run July 14 to Aug. 3 at Cal Expo--to Pleasanton to be run over a shortened window: July 14 through July 20. Golden Gate Fields has also been allocated an additional two weeks of racing,...

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Revised CHRB Whip Penalties On Target For BC, Largely With Guild's Blessing

In an attempt to get a revised whip violations penalty scheme on the books before Del Mar hosts the Nov. 5-6 Breeders' Cup, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Wednesday advanced a rule amendment that mostly has the blessing of The Jockeys' Guild because it strips out a previously controversial proposal that would have docked jockeys 50% of purse earnings if they over-whipped while finishing first, second or third in graded stakes. That purse penalization had been proposed by the CHRB in March in an attempt to disincentivize riders from...

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Los Alamitos Releases Draft Safety Plan

The Los Alamitos Quarter Horse Racing Association released Tuesday evening a seven-page draft "Equine & Rider Safety Enhancement Plan," ahead of a follow-up meeting July 20 with the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) concerning a recent uptick in equine fatalities at the track. Among some of the new protocols outlined in the plan is an additional veterinarian to scrutinize horses entering and exiting the track during morning training, and the creation of a program whereby every equine fatality triggers a "Fatality Review" to be conducted by a panel including a...

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Los Alamitos on 10-Day Probation with CHRB

In an emergency California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) teleconference Friday in the wake of a series of equine fatalities at Los Alamitos, the board voted to put the track on a 10-day probation, while live racing continues, to devise a plan to address various horse welfare issues raised during the meeting. At the end of those 10 days, the board will reconvene to review the plan. At that point, if the proposed plan doesn't pass muster, the board has the option of suspending the track's racing license. "I agree that...

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