ARCADIA, CA – The California Horse Racing Board conducted its regular meeting Thursday,
April 18, at Santa Anita Park. Chairman Chuck Winner presided. Vice Chair Madeline Auerbach
and Commissioners Dennis Alfieri, Fred Maas, Araceli Ruano, and Alex Solis also were in
The audio of this entire Board meeting is available on the CHRB Website (www.chrb.ca.gov)
under the Webcast link. In brief:
• During public comment, the Board heard from a number of people expressing their views on
animal rights, the importance of racetrack jobs, and other issues concerning the life of a
• The Board approved three measures on the agenda giving the CHRB greater control over
medications administered to horses, and a fourth to help educate trainers and other licenses
about the causes of catastrophic injuries. Specifically:
1. The Board suspended authorization of thresholds for steroidal and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medications in post-race samples collected at all California racetracks for
12 months, something previously done for just Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate
Fields. As a result of the restriction, effective May 3, there is zero tolerance for
phenylbutazone (commonly known as bute), flunixin, ketoprofen, corticosteroids, and
several other medications in post-race tests.
2. The Board approved for public notice a proposed rule to establish threshold limits for
the presence of certain drug substances and medications in official test samples taken
from horses after they complete a timed workout. By greatly limiting the amounts of
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications that can be present in blood serum
following serious exercise, the rule has the effect of prohibiting the administration of
those medications within 48 hours of a horse working out.
3. The Board approved for public notice a proposed rule requiring trainers to maintain
records of all treatments given to a horse, including veterinary procedures performed
and all medications administered. Those records, which are incremental to the records
that currently must be submitted by practicing veterinarians, must be made available
for inspection by representatives of the CHRB, allowing them to verify that all affected
medications are clinically prescribed and administered by veterinarians.
4. The Board approved for public notice a proposed rule to require trainers and other
licensees to review postmortem reports with the Official Veterinarian as an educational
opportunity that will help them understand how injuries develop and occur. Trainers of
horses that have died within CHRB inclosures have been voluntarily reviewing those
postmortem reports. This rule will make their participation mandatory.
• Concerning the agenda item regarding the possible reallocation of race dates granted to the
Los Angeles Turf Club at Santa Anita, Chairman Winner said, “My view is racing since Santa
Anita has reopened has been really good, there have been no accidents, and personally I see
no reason to move the race dates.” With no objections, the Board took no action on this item,
allowing the Santa Anita meet to continue.
• Executive Director Rick Baedeker noted that a coalition of leading thoroughbred tracks and
organizations across the country, including Santa Anita, Golden Gate, Del Mar and Los
Alamitos (thoroughbred meets) in California, have agreed to phase out the use of the
medication furosemide, or Lasix, beginning in 2020. Both he and Chairman Winner, who
participated in the discussions leading up to the announcement, praised the nationwide
stakeholders for working together in the interest of equine welfare.
• Rick Baedeker also reported that four CHRB investigators are continuing to work closely
with those assigned by the Los Angeles County District Attorney to investigate the equine
fatalities at Santa Anita this year. He said the Board has issued more than 70 subpoenas. He
said this is a detailed, thorough, complicated process and is “taking some time,” but he
assured everyone this is the highest priority and will be completed as soon as possible.
• Another matter involving horse welfare – restrictions on the administration of
bisphosphonates to young horses – was put over until the May meeting because
commissioners felt the proposed rule did not go far enough. Vice Chair Auerbach and
Commissioner Solis, who serve on the Medication, Safety and Welfare Committee, voiced
support for making bisphosphonates a prohibited substance that could not be used at
racetracks at all. A representative of The Stronach Group (TSG) announced that pending
CHRB approval of this rule, TSG will prohibit the use of bisphosphonates at both Santa Anita
and Golden Gate as house rules.
• A proposed regulatory amendment requiring practicing veterinarians to provide the CHRB
with electronic versions of their handwritten reports also was put over to May.
• The Board approved the license application for the Alameda County Fair to conduct a fair
meet in Pleasanton, which will offer live racing from June 14 through July 7.
• The Board approved a regulatory amendment requiring Advance Deposit Wagering
companies to provide additional financial information in their license applications.