Safety Task Force Progress Report Unveiled At CHRB Meeting - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Safety Task Force Progress Report Unveiled At CHRB Meeting

The California Horse Racing Board conducted a meeting by teleconference on Thursday, March 17, 2022. The public participated by dialing into the teleconference and/or listening through the audio webcast link on the CHRB website. Chairman Gregory Ferraro chaired the meeting, joined by vice chair Oscar Gonzales and commissioners Dennis Alfieri, Damascus Castellanos, Brenda Washington Davis, Thomas Hudnut, and Wendy Mitchell.

The audio of this entire Board meeting is available on the CHRB Website (www.chrb.ca.gov) under the Webcast link. In brief:

— Chairman Ferraro opened the meeting by welcoming commissioner Hudnut, recently appointed to the Board by Gov. Gavin Newsom. He also thanked former commissioner Alex Solis for his seven years of service on the Board.

— The Board received a report from Alan Balch, executive director of California Thoroughbred Trainers, on progress made by the task force for animal safety. Balch indicated the task force is focused primarily on four areas: continuing education for trainers, sudden deaths in race horses, humeral stress fractures (or shoulder fractures), and lower leg injuries. (Lower leg injuries already have been greatly reduced due to regulations, protocols, and procedures currently in place.) Balch addressed sudden deaths extensively in his January report to the Board.

Concerning humeral stress fractures (which the CHRB is currently developing rules to help prevent), Balch said those injuries often are associated with horses returning prematurely from long layoffs and that their symptoms can be difficult to recognize. Therefore, he stressed the need for continuing education. Balch suggested that the education module on humeral stress fractures could be made mandatory viewing by trainers as part of their continuing education requirement. Given that the regulatory process to accomplish this could take up to a year, CHRB executive director Scott Chaney suggested that “weighting” that particular module to incentivize trainers to view the humeral stress fracture module over other choices could be a much quicker way to accomplish this. Balch stated that in the next 30 days the CTT will be contacting all trainers who have not completed this continuing education module.

— The Pari-Mutuel and Wagering Committee held a meeting March 16 to discuss possible improvements to regulations and procedures pertaining to horses scratched (removed) from races once the racing program has begun. Committee chairman Dennis Alfieri reported that while several options are being considered, the one furthest along is the suggestion that ADW companies provide the opportunity for their customers to designate alternate selections in case of scratches. A representative of XpressBet reported that this opportunity already is in place on its platform. Chaney said the CHRB could revisit this matter when the various ADW licenses come up for renewal later this year.

— Chaney reported that Gov. Newsom's executive order allowing for teleconference meetings is about to expire. The Board will return to in-person meetings on April 21, most likely at Cal Expo in Sacramento. The audio link on the CHRB website will continue to provide access to those wishing to listen to Board and committee meetings.

— The Board adopted a regulation defining the rules regarding public participation at CHRB meetings, closely matching the procedures that have been in place informally in recent years.

— The Board approved distributions of race day charity proceeds by three racing associations, specifically distributions totaling $9,936 to eight  beneficiaries by the Pacific Racing Association (Golden Gate Fields), distributions totaling $57,507 by the Los Angeles Turf Club (Santa Anita), and distribution of $218,221 to nine beneficiaries by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. That total of $218,221 included an extra $86,710 contributed by Del Mar above the statutory requirement.

— The Board approved a request to designate the 2022 fair meets in Pleasanton, Sacramento, Ferndale, and Fresno as one continuing fair meet solely for pari-mutuel purposes. This will allow for carryovers of wagering pools from one location to the next, as has been the custom in recent years. License applications for each of those fair meets will be considered in upcoming months.

— The Board approved an amendment to the ADW license for Churchill Downs Technology Initiatives Company (Twinspires and BetAmerica) updating its list of officers.

— Public comments made during the meeting can be accessed through the meeting audio archive on the CHRB website.

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