For those peering ahead to November and the annual gathering of equine excellence at the Breeders’ Cup carnival, take note.
It now may not be run at Santa Anita as previously advertised – all over the world.
This is because the California government unanimously voted last night to give authority of racing to the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) – meaning they can shut down an unsafe track if they wish.
Introduced by Sen. Bill Dodd, the measure gives the CHRB authority to change, limit, restrict or reallocate racing dates that had previously been assigned. As a condition of lifting a suspension, a licensed track would be required to comply with any additional safety standards or other requirements set by the board.
The legislation came in the wake of a spike in racing and training fatalities at Santa Anita. And that’s underplaying the spate.
Thus far this year 30 deaths have occurred at Santa Anita. In contrast, at Woodbine in Canada in that time period, zero deaths have occurred.
Something, therefore, is horribly wrong in the state of California. Well, Santa Anita specifically.
This new bill would authorize the board, at any time, upon a vote of at least 4 members of the board, to immediately suspend a license to conduct a racing meeting, as provided, when necessary to protect the health and safety of the horses or riders that are present at the racing meeting.
The bill would authorize the board, as a condition of lifting the suspension, to require a licensee to comply with additional safety standards or other requirements as it deems necessary or desirable for the best interests of horse racing and the purposes of the Horse Racing Law.
The bill would make it unlawful to conduct a horse race meeting that is suspended pursuant to these safety provisions.
Meaning that the Breeders’ Cup meeting set for November, is under threat if the CHRB finds the track is responsible for the deaths.
The CHRB is conducting test now to determine safety requirements, standards et al at Santa Anita Park.
This year the Breeders’ Cup meet consists of 14 Graded Stakes with prizemoney and awards totaling more than US$30 million, and will be held on November 1-2.