CHRB Moves Forward on Altering Drug Policy: The Blood-Horse 10/22/15

By: Jeremy Balan

The California Horse Racing Board took steps toward new guidelines for medication violators that would prevent those violators from transferring horses to one of their employees when under suspension, during its Oct. 22 meeting at Santa Anita Park.

Under the new proposal, the violating trainer would have to be suspended for more than 30 days for the restriction to be enforced. The most recent high-profile example of this practice was when trainer Doug O’Neill put his horses under the supervision of assistant trainer Leandro Mora during a suspensions in 2012 and 2014.

The proposal was approved by the CHRB for a 45-day public comment period and has not been officially enacted.

The CHRB also approved for public comment a proposal that would require safety vests for all people “mounted on” horses on California racetracks.

“Assistant trainers are employees and are covered under workers’ (compensation),” said Brad McKinzie, who was representing Finish Line Self Insurance Group. “Trainers are employers and are not covered by workers’ compensation, so financially, the trainers aren’t a risk. You’re just trying to protect them from themselves, I guess… It is an easy thing, in my opinion, to make anybody… any employee on the back of a horse should have a helmet and a safety vest. It’s a simple, simple idea.”

Conversation also ventured into the previous day’s discussion over fantasy sports and contests at the CHRB Pari-Mutuel, ADW, and Simulcast Committee meeting.

John Ford, chief executive officer of BetAmerica , said 15-20% of the site’s fantasy sports players have gone on to participate in pari-mutuel wagering on the site, and CHRB commissioner Jesse Choper called the emergence of fantasy games “the most promising opportunity for horse racing that I have seen to attract new players.”

“Making that connection between fantasy and pari-mutuel as seamless and as easy as possible is in our best interest,” Ford said. “We live and breathe off pari-mutuel wagering. The investment we’re making in fantasy is to drive those folks into pari-mutuel.”