Racing board discusses heat after horse dies

Cross-posted from the Sacramento Bee

Heat and humidity can be a killer, but when is it too hot to run?

Thermometer showing 100 plus heat. Image from
During a summer with extreme temperatures at both ends of the state, California racing authorities may [emphasis added] institute a new policy mandating heat restrictions for horse safety.

The day after a 2-year-old filly died following a race at the State Fair, the California Horse Racing Board’s Medication and Track Safety Committee took the first step Friday in potentially [emphasis added] establishing guidelines with a hearing on when it’s safe to race on days with high temperatures.

Triple-digit temperatures are forecast for today and Sunday, the final two days of the State Fair meet.

California racetracks don’t have a statewide policy on heat and racing. Other racing venues and equestrian events use the Heat Stress Index of 180 as the limit to allow competition, said Dr. Rick Arthur, the CHRB’s state veterinarian. The state will use 180 as an unofficial guideline for now.

“Because we don’t have high humidity in California, we seldom exceed (180),” Arthur noted. “Some veterinarians have advocated for a lower threshold.”

Read more here:

“Because we don’t have high humidity in California …” So? And what about the diuretic type drugs you give racehorses on raceday? Veterinarians that think like this have no business making decisions on horse safety and welfare in our opinion.

4 thoughts on “Racing board discusses heat after horse dies”

  1. Yes, indeed Barbara and Debbie. If cities can agree that carriage horses should not be working pulling tourists around in weather above 80 degree what business do horses have running flat out in this kind of weather. Use your noggin.

    Attendance is down at the tracks. Hollywood Park is closing. But they must put on a show for the gamblers. Some good news (sort of) is that the casinos that are moving in are already considering live horse racing surplus to requirements. So once again horse racing demigods shoots themselves in the foot. We could see this coming — any sensible person could — and the reason why we supported the slots etc setting up at tracks (in theory).

    The fewer racetracks, the fewer racehorses are drugged, breakdown, die or sent to slaughter when they are too injured to be “salvaged”, not fast enough, or simply no longer to the owner’s taste.

    Trainers, longing to keep the owner happy and paying the bills will say “I can rid of him for you and find you something else”. Yet it is all too often the owner who says “get rid of him and find me something else”.

    That’s my Sunday roast (vegan of course).


  2. I was raised in the area around Sac and it was hot in the summer. But in the years since I left it has gotten much hotter in the summer, At times its as hot and dry as AZ. I sure wouldn’t want to run any horse in heat like that. You would think that these vets would know better but the money means more that the life of any horse.


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