Cross-posted from the Sacramento Bee
by DEBBIE ARRINGTON
Heat and humidity can be a killer, but when is it too hot to run?
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.”
“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.