ARCADIA, Calif. (Apr. 13, 2013) – The California Horse Racing Board conducted its regular meeting Thursday, April 11, at Santa Anita Park. Chairman David Israel presided. Vice Chairman Chuck Winner and Commissioners Steve Beneto, Jesse Choper, Bo Derek, and Richard Rosenberg were in attendance.
The audio of this entire Board meeting is available on the CHRB Website (www.chrb.ca.gov) under the Webcast link. In brief:
- Chairman Israel began the meeting with the announcement that at the May 23 Board meeting in the State Capitol, “We’re going to take up the issue of the racing calendar for 2014, so I would like all of the interested stakeholders to have calendars prepared to present to us. We are taking this up earlier than we ordinarily have in the past because we need some time to deal with what we expect are going to be significant changes.” He added that “security is something that will be considered when we take up the calendars. We need to use technology and have better ways to enhance 24-hour security, seven days a week, 365 days a year, in the backstretch. And I think that includes considering installing cameras.” He concluded, “This is about every horse, every race, every day, every night.”
- The Board authorized the Pacific Racing Association to distribute $70,670 in race-day charity proceeds to 10 beneficiaries, all of which are horse racing-related charities.
- The Board approved the license application for the Alameda County Fair to conduct a12-day, live racing meeting in Pleasanton from June 20 through July 7, with simulcast wagering offered June 19, the day before the start of the live meet. Live racing will be conducted Thursday through Sunday each of the three weeks.
- The Board approved the license application for the California Exposition and State Fair to conduct an eight-day, live racing meeting at Cal Expo from July 12 through July 21, with simulcast wagering offered July 10 and 11 prior to the start of the live meet and also offered July 22 and 23 following the conclusion of the live meet. Live racing will be conducted Friday through Sunday the initial week and then Wednesday through Sunday the final week.
- The Board authorized XpressBet to add DerbyJackpot.com to its ADW license. DerbyJackpot.com is a casual online social gaming site with wagering on live horse races. Representatives of DerbyJackpot.com said they already have 12,000 accounts and a sampling of those bettors suggests that as many as 90 percent had never bet on a horse race before. Their marketing program focuses on Facebook and Twitter.
- The Board approved a conditional license for Lien Games Racing to conduct Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) in California. Operating the Betamerica.com Website, representatives of Lien Games Racing said they already offer wagering on all California races to 91,000 out-of-state customers. Pending receipt by the CHRB of some required documents, they hope to begin accepting wagers from California customers by the April 25 opening of the Hollywood Park meet.
- The Board granted a waiver to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for the installation of a Mawsafe Rail System on its turf course. Executive Director Kirk Breed, pointing out that the current safety rules do not allow any of the safety railings to be made of PVC, said technology of rail construction has advanced considerably since the safety rules were adopted 20 years ago and this proposed rail is “better than the aluminum rails that are out there.” He said the Mawsafe rail has been thoroughly “vetted by our engineers.” Josh Rubinstein, senior vice president of development for DMTC, said Del Mar has the cooperation of the rest of the industry on this project, including the Jockeys’ Guild.
- The Board approved a three-year contract with the University of California-Davis to extend the CHRB Racing Safety Program, which began in 2010. The contract is for $950,000 per year. Under the program, UC Davis provides services for an expanded necropsy program in order to better understand what causes fatalities in race horses. UC Davis also is developing training materials for a related continuing education program for CHRB licensees, so the information developed by the Racing Safety Program can be communicated to those handling horses. The goal is to further reduce catastrophic injuries to horses.
- The Board endorsed federal legislation – HR 1094, the Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2012 – to ban the export of American horses for slaughter, reinstate a ban on slaughtering horses in the United States, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat. The Board will send a letter to each member of the California Congressional Caucus, including Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, supporting passage of the bill.
- Assistant Executive Director Jacqueline Wagner advised the commissioners that staff is dealing with the concerns cited by the Office of Administrative Law in their review and rejection of eight proposed regulations for exchange wagering. She said staff will present the eight revised regulations to the Board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Exchange Wagering followed by consideration by the full Board and notice to the public under a timetable that should result in the resubmission of the proposed regulations to OAL by mid-July.
- Commissioner Derek, who chairs the Medication and Track Safety Committee, and Vice Chairman Winner, a member of the committee, reported on their April 10 meeting. Commissioner Derek summarized discussions of the national uniform medication policy, efforts to regulate corticosteroids, the contaminated food issue involving zilpaterol, and an update on the problem of sudden deaths in racehorses.
- These same two commissioners also serve on the Jockey and Driver Welfare Committee, chaired by Vice Chairman Winner, whose report on the previous day’s meeting summarized a discussion of the possibility of expanding the human drug testing program, which is now limited to jockeys, to other licensees whose jobs can affect the health and safety of others. The committee also discussed the health and safety of exercise riders as well as the impact of having track physicians at race tracks. Vice Chairman Winner said all of these issues and more will be further addressed by the committee at future meetings.