CHRB Approves Los Alamitos' Safety Plan
CYPRESS, CA—JULY 20, 2020—In a special teleconference meeting today (July 20), the California Horse Racing Board voted unanimously to approve a new equine and rider safety plan provided by Los Alamitos Race Course after the racetrack was put on probation July 10th, following a CHRB emergency meeting due to a recent spike in equine fatalities at the Orange County racetrack.
This was the first use of a new law that allows the CHRB to call an emergency meeting without the standard 10-day public notice period. There have been 10 horses who have died either racing or training since May 26, and 22 since the race meet began on Dec. 27.
Since then, Los Alamitos has instituted a pre-race review panel, which scratched five horses during the second weekend of racing.
In addition to the review panel, Los Alamitos has also proposed:
- Adding one qualified veterinarian each morning the track is open as a dedicated observer of horses entering and exiting the track for training purposes.
- Requiring examinations by attending veterinarians during the specified days immediately preceding a work or race entry for the express purpose of evaluating the horse's soundness to work or race.
- Requiring qualifications for horses eligible to start, including examinations for long-layoff entries.
- Prohibiting the entry of any horse in any race if the horse has received an intra-articular injection during the 14 days immediately preceding a start.
- Not permitting any horse to participate in a workout or race if the horse receives nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during the 48-hour period immediately preceding the workout or race or has been treated with a second NSAID that could appear in a post-work or post-race blood or urine test.
- Place each fatality occurring on the grounds—regardless of causation—under a "fatality review" conducted by a panel consisting of a qualified representative of track management, the track veterinarian, and the racing secretary.
Los Alamitos owner Dr. Ed Allred, who was open to the board's recommendations to improve the plan, said he was committed to the changes long-term.
"It's essential that we do this. We still feel we have a track that's equal to or superior to any in California as far as racing surfaces are concerned. I think there are other areas where we could stand some improvement and we're going to work on those things," Allred said.
The board thought the measures were enough to allow racing to continue. Commissioner Wendy Mitchell, who voted to suspend racing at the original meeting, voted to allow racing after hearing the plan.
Los Alamitos conducts a regular nighttime mixed-breed meet of Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds 51 weeks a year in addition to periodic afternoon meets exclusive to Thoroughbreds. It also serves as a major training facility in Southern California.