CYPRESS (CNS) – The California Horse Racing Board will meet by teleconference right this moment to contemplate whether or not to grant Los Alamitos Race Course a license to conduct quarter horse racing within the 2020-21 season, after a cluster of equine deaths led the board to position the observe on probation earlier this yr.
Los Alamitos is presently holding nighttime quarter horse races via Dec. 20, with out followers as a result of coronavirus. The brand new license would enable the observe to carry quarter horse races commencing on Dec. 23 of this yr via Dec. 21, 2021.
A separate thoroughbred meet is scheduled for Dec. 4-20 of this yr. Licenses for thoroughbred meets are sometimes thought-about two months earlier than every meet is scheduled to start out.
On July 20, the CHRB unanimously signed off on a plan to permit Los Alamitos to proceed holding races after observe officers agreed so as to add a number of layers of oversight.
On the time of the board’s July 10 motion putting the observe on probation, no less than 19 horses had died because the starting of the yr after struggling racing or coaching accidents, and one other 10 had succumbed to gastrointestinal and different forms of diseases.
For the reason that probation, no less than eight extra horses have died, 5 from racing accidents and three from causes listed by the CHRB as “different.”
The Cypress observe has lengthy been stricken by a excessive variety of horse deaths. In line with CHRB knowledge, Los Alamitos noticed 42 horses die in the course of the 2018-19 season, with 33 of the deaths attributable to racing or coaching actions. The observe had 41 horses die in the course of the 2017-18 season, 56 deaths in 2016-17, 63 in 2015-16, and 57 in 2014-15.
Los Alamitos officers didn’t reply to a request for remark about their software.
The added measures adopted by Los Alamitos this summer season included including one other veterinarian to be a “roving observer of horses in coaching, whereas getting into, exiting, or on the observe,” in addition to a “safety steward” who oversees veterinary and barn practices.
The measures additionally embrace an “entry evaluation panel” of specialists who’ve the authority to scratch horses for races.
Any demise on the observe now triggers a evaluation.
“I can guarantee you we’re all form of humiliated by this entire factor,” Los Alamitos Race Course proprietor Dr. Ed Allred instructed the board in July. “We’ll do all that we are able to, all the pieces we presumably can, to do issues correctly sooner or later. A few of our trainers are upset, however they’ll regulate to it.”
Commissioner Dennis Alfieri replied that if trainers have been disgruntled, “You recognize what, too unhealthy. There are lots of trainers who name themselves — quote, unquote — trainers and so they’re not trainers. They’ve one or two horses and so they deliver them in. That has all the time made me uneasy about this entire business — individuals who name themselves trainers who should not be trainers… If these trainers do not wish to step as much as the plate and lift their very own bar, they need to be out.”
Commissioner Wendy Mitchell mentioned, “What we’re doing as a fee is sending a message to the trainers and jockeys… We wish to give the observe at Los Alamitos the spine and realizing they’ve our assist to crack down.”
Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald, the veterinarian on employees on the observe, mentioned in July that the plan had already proven outcomes.
“I’ve personally seen an enchancment based mostly on the brand new system that we’re implementing, extra so than I anticipated to see,” Fitzgerald instructed the commissioners.
She mentioned the plan was “instrumental” in taking a few horses out of races.
“We had a extremely nice calendar yr final yr… and including what we now have is little doubt going to make an incredible distinction,” Fitzgerald mentioned.
“I agree with Dr. Allred,” Fitzgerald mentioned, asserting that horse deaths are a humiliation. “I satisfaction myself on our numbers and so they have been actually nice after which not too long ago what occurred you simply cannot have, so no matter we now have to do to get them again to how they have been final yr is basically what we now have to do and I believe this plan will assist us get there.”
On the July 10 assembly, board Chairman Gregory L. Ferraro mentioned, “I believe there’s a tradition there with the veterinarians and trainers pushing the envelope.”
The board’s veterinarian, Dr. Rick Arthur, mentioned he thinks Los Alamitos is okay and isn’t the problem, however added, “What I do see that’s questionable … coaching and horse practices… veterinary practices… a number of and repeated injections typically with out diagnostic procedures.”
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