01/16/2014 8:00PM

California Horse Racing Board tweaks claiming rule


ARCADIA, Calif. - The California Horse Racing Board voted Thursday to relax part of a rule voiding claims on horses placed on the veterinarian’s list for unsoundness.

Under the rule change, unanimously approved by the racing board, owners and trainers can designate prior to submitting a claim to accept a horse even if the claimed horse is placed on the vet’s list for unsoundness after a race. The designation would be made by checking a box on the claim slip submitted 15 minutes before scheduled post time.

The rule change is expected to take effect this spring. The state Office of Administrative Law must review the rule change before it becomes official. Racing board officials said there was no communication from the public on the rule change during a recent 45-day comment period.

Since last May, a claimed horse placed on the vet’s list for unsoundness has been required to be returned to the owner and trainer for which it raced. The decision is made by track stewards, acting on advice from state or association veterinarians. A claim submitted for a horse that is euthanized or dies on the racetrack is automatically voided, and would remain voided under the amended rule.

Some trainers with runners in early races at Santa Anita on Thursday said they remain opposed to the general principal of a rule that voids claims. Before the rule change, a claimed horse belonged to the new owner regardless of the horse's condition.

Trainer Kathy Walsh said the new clause would aid owners seeking to breed a filly or mare, but said the rule should be rescinded.

“It should remain the way it’s always been,” she said of claiming rules.

Trainer Peter Miller, a vocal opponent of the rule since last year, said he objected to the latest change. He said that owners and trainers should be given the option after a race on whether to accept a claimed horse classified as unsound.

“You should be able to look at it after the race,” he said.

The rule that voids claims on unsound horses went into effect after months of discussion at racing board meetings in late 2012 and early 2013. From May 17 through the end of 2013, there were 133 voided claims at California tracks, including three because of fatalities, according to Dr. Rick Arthur, California’s equine medical director.

Of the 133, there were 64 on the Southern California Thoroughbred circuit, 31 on the Northern California Thoroughbred circuit, and 38 at the mixed meeting at Los Alamitos.

Through Sunday, the 13th day of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, there had been 10 voided claims at the meet, according to track stewards. For the Hollywood Park autumn meeting, there were 15 voided claims in 27 days of racing.

Baedeker named executive director

Rick Baedeker, the former president of Hollywood Park, was named executive director of the racing board on Thursday. His hiring was announced at the start of the public session of the racing board’s meeting.

Baedeker will not begin work until the state hiring process is completed. He is likely to oversee the racing board’s next monthly meeting, at Santa Anita on Feb. 21.

The position had been vacant since last August following the death of Kirk Breed from a lengthy illness.

Baedeker left Hollywood Park in 2005. In recent years, he has worked as a consultant for the Breeders’ Cup in California, and as a liaison between the racing board and groups that sought to open mini-satellites in restaurants and bars in Southern California.

Baedeker said after Thursday’s meeting that one of his early goals is to promote racing in general as well as oversee the regulatory agency.

“The number one responsibility is the integrity of the game,” he said. “It has to be a clean and fair game for the players.

“I would hope to be a facilitator of new ideas. We’ve been in this circle-the-wagons mode with the closure of Hollywood Park (in December). That’s behind us.

“I hope I can bring people together to think of ways to keep the fans we have, get back the ones that left, and attract new people. The goal is not to impose creative ideas, but to get people around the table that may not otherwise communicate with each other.”

Ann Mitchell Adam More than 1 year ago
Comment on several issues here: It was stated that wiser people wrote the claiming rules long ago and they should remain. The trouble is that today there are trainers and vets dosing horses with "legal" meds without any diagnosed reason and claiming has become an even higher risk, even for the horse! Good luck to Baedeker on getting those not communicating around a table in order to talk! The only way that will happen is if it can be guaranteed that the "clean" advocates can be kept free from retaliation from the "dosers." Only then will you get the truth and only then will there be hope for the future of racing. 1.) Create simple and clear standards for the horse being able to race. Horse injured or ill? Return to racing when clear of all treatment and back to good health 2.) All veterinarians working on track property whether for the State, the track or for horses stabled there, must have on file an updated, January 1, 2011 Veterinary Oath. 3.) All operating race track's barn areas will have installed security equipment, including motion activated cameras, to monitor all access to individual stalls. (Equipment for this is no longer expensive compared to the total cost of racing. This could be done by those using the stalls and they would also retain ownership of the equipment.) 4.) The State MUST enforce its rules and do so in a timely manner! 5.) The State must update its rules and make CLEAR the intent of all rules. Only with firm positive action on the part of the State will the positive racing connections step up to help revive this wonderful sport and make it a viable entertainment and/or career opportunity for all.
MaryAlice Nelson More than 1 year ago
The racetrack isn't Wal-Mart. The race track isn't Wal-Mart there is an 'all sales final' on claimed horses period. You pay your money and take your chances- if there is a fall, breakdown or the rider falls off it is still your horse if you claimed him
jttf More than 1 year ago
who knows how many horses' lives have been saved by this rule. please check the box, if you dont care about the horse's health. i guess there were many california trainers that wanted this change.
Jock More than 1 year ago
I feel that this is crazy. I think that if a person claims a horse it, is his after the race regardless where it finishes or if it breaks down. That is the chance that you take when you claim a horse.
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
Then unethical trainers could run unsound horses in the hope of unloading them.
Walter More than 1 year ago
The unethical trainers continue to run their horses, whether they are juiced or simply sore
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
How do you authenticate a "check in a box"?
The Baron More than 1 year ago
"Trainer Peter Miller, a vocal opponent of the rule since last year, said he objected to the latest change. He said that owners and trainers should be given the option after a race on whether to accept a claimed horse classified as unsound." Miller is too full of himself these days - I can remember him when he was a kinder and more likeable person back in the 1990's when he still galloped his own horses training- as any on can clearly see these days that would not be possible. And here he is vocal in a classic case of wanting his cake and eating too.....my way or the highway mentality!!
Har Nel More than 1 year ago
All this rule does is stop trainers from dumping there cripples on other people rather than turn them out where they should be !!!!!!!! The ones that oppose this don't put up there own money so really doesn't bother them if they loose a hundred grand or not! This rule also took out the claiming insurance they all had too protect them just another expense the owners save! But why would they want to save owners money they just want to spend it!!!! Ask the vets!!!!!! I think it is the best rule that has come to racing for all new owners and old ones also!! Keeps the cheaters from drugging them to get through the race!!!! And then some body else can worry about them! My hats truly off to the california horse racing board for this!!!!!!!!!!!!! Greatest thing they have ever DONE by far!!!!!!!!!!!!! But it hurts Los Alamitos for the dumping grounds of these horses!!!!!! See how many horse were giving back there if you want a big number!!!!!!
Walter More than 1 year ago
The rule doesn't stop the cheaters who drug horses. Those folks still exist in CA. Exist and proper, unfortunately,
The Baron More than 1 year ago
Claiming horses are not buying New KIAs that come with a 50,000 mile Drive Train warranty OK!! They are horses up for sale and should come to any new owner, as they always have, with a Caveat Emptor. That has been the way this has been done for many years and the CHRB should just have left well enough alone. The State Vet checks these horses in the morning before the race and OKs them to race in the first place - now he has to decide after the race some thing else?? There should be no "tire kicking" here at all - then it amounts to buying a horse privately - so what is the point of claiming races then?? The whole thing is ludicrous and for what?? If the horse is sounded enough to race - then they are sounded enough to claim. People far wiser and smarter made the old claiming rules a long time ago and now these mental midgets on the CHRB want to tinker with everything. Start by figuring out how to get people interested in even getting in this dying business - there time would be better spent!! "Converse with the State Vet after the race" - what are you kidding me??!! Please God Help Horse racing survive despite the idiots running it!!
Jock More than 1 year ago
You are 100% correct with this statement. I raced for years back in the 60's and that was the chance that you took when you claimed a horse. If you claim a horse it is yours after it leaves the starting gate no matter what happens.
Dr LGH More than 1 year ago
Amen to the Baron and Jock! That's the whole gamble when claiming a horse, it's traditional and part of the healthy competition in racing.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, our nation has become one of pansies. Everyone is looking for a "do over" if something doesn't go right. It's all about accountability. People need to be accountable for their actions. In life, and in the claiming game.
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
i agree with Miller you should be able to converse with the vet after the race and make a decision if you want the claim voided or not
Roger More than 1 year ago
I really believe RB will do a very good job in a tough atmosphere with the TOC having too much power over racetracks. The CHRB can bridge that gap.....Rick has always been a UNITER not a DIVIDER so I'm hopeful.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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CMathieu66 More than 1 year ago
Patrici- Giing me...Giing me...Oh Patrici, GIING ME...
Harvey Savitsky More than 1 year ago
Hope your Mom is a generous person!!!!!
Michael Griffiths More than 1 year ago
how your mouth never open again from telling all these lies