VIA THOROUGHBRED DAILY NEWS | Sept. 29, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa Tuesday to improve horse racing safety across California and build on reforms adopted last year. Additionally, the governor signed a second horse racing bill, co-authored by Sen. Dodd and Assembly member Adam Gray, D-Merced, incorporating recommendations from the California Horse Racing Board.
“The horse racing industry must accept and adopt forward-thinking solutions as the health and welfare of the sport’s human and equine athletes are paramount to their future in California,” said Gov. Newsom. “These bills are an essential step to create a safer and more transparent horse racing experience for everyone involved and can serve as a model for other states to follow.”
“Making horse racing safer for horses and jockeys is critical for the future of this sport,” Sen. Dodd said. “Thanks to Gov. Newsom for signing my bill, which will help ensure track conditions are right and horses are fit before they hit the starting gate.”
In 2019, Sen. Dodd wrote Senate Bill 469 and followed this year with Senate Bill 800, which incorporates reforms recommended by the CHRB, including improved veterinary medical review prior to races and increased transparency in drug testing. The second bill, AB 1974, provides additional safeguards.
Senate Bill 469 regulates race meetings.
The board may, at any time, immediately suspend a license to conduct a racing meeting when necessary to protect the health and safety of the horses or riders that are present at the racing meeting.
The Horse Racing Law establishes the California Horse Racing Board within the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency. That law vests the board with all powers necessary and proper to enable it to carry out the Horse Racing Law.
This bill is too long to summarize here. There are excellent provisions in AB 1974 but can we — who care about the health and safety of the racehorse —trust The Horse Racing Law will be enforced regardless of who the owners and trainers are. Unfortunately for the horses the answer may be no.
Example: The Bob Baffert Triple Crown winner Justify tested positive for scopolamine after the Santa Anita Derby. See The story behind Justify’s positive drug test: A misleading bombshell scoop, a damning lack of transparency and another unforced error by racing officials, NBC Sports, 25 Sept 2019.
Featured image: Trainer Bob Baffert and Justify. Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images.