06/20/2013 6:49PM

California Horse Racing Board: Voided claims at 19 since new rule took effect


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The claims of 19 horses at three California tracks from May 16 through June 16 were voided following the implementation of a rule that requires claims to be rescinded on horses who die or are placed on the veterinarian's list after the race from which they are claimed, the California Horse Racing Board was told on Thursday.

Dr. Rick Arthur, California's equine medical director, gave testimony at Thursday's meeting, stating that 229 horses were claimed during that time at Betfair Hollywood Park, Golden Gate Fields, and Los Alamitos, with 19 of those claims voided. Hollywood Park and Golden Gate Fields operate Thoroughbred meetings. Los Alamitos has a mixed meeting of Quarter Horses and lower-level Thoroughbreds.

Seven of 72 claims were voided at Golden Gate Fields, six of 91 were voided at Hollywood Park and six of 66 claims were voided at Los Alamitos.

Arthur said that "procedures are working well administratively" in the implementation of the rule.

The state or official veterinarian at each track judges whether a claim should be voided for lameness or unsoundness on the racetrack immediately after the race or at the test barn before the horse is released to the new owner and trainer.

Arthur said that none of the 19 horses whose claims were voided has returned to race, but said "it's too early to expect that." Horses placed on the vet's list must have a workout in the presence of an official veterinarian and pass a blood test before being removed from the list.

The rule was the subject of widespread discussion at Thursday's racing board meeting, and will be the topic of a committee meeting at Del Mar next month.

Trainer Peter Miller, who had the claim of one of his horses voided at Hollywood Park on June 2, said the rule is flawed, noting that horses who bleed visibly through the nose are not placed on the vet's list. He said another flaw could be an owner who claims a mare with the intent of retirement for breeding but later has the claim voided.

Miller was the lone trainer to speak regarding the rule at Thursday's meeting.

"Claiming is inherently risky," Miller said. "Anything can happen once the gates opened. That's why it was a perfect system. [A trainer] knew he could lose them or not lose them.

"In my opinion, it's a bad rule. It's too subjective."

Vice-chairman Chuck Winner said the rule merits ongoing debate.

"We all agreed when we passed this that it may not be perfect," he said. "This was the best idea that we had come up. We're talking about 30 days since we started. This is not enough time, in my view, to change it, to throw it out, or accept it entirely. There are a lot of issues.

"I've had two trainers tell me that they are more confident in claiming horses now because the horse will be sounder when they claim it. We should look at it in committee and people ought to make the points they are making. We can learn from it. We'll try to make it as perfect as we can."

The rule was adopted by the racing board in February and was implemented on May 16.


Mike B More than 1 year ago
Looks like the rule is working. More than the 19 voided, think how many lame horses may have been kept off the track through the disincentive of a voided claim. Agree--if for breeding purposes, then try private sale. The option to override voided claim has two issues (1) the rule may not have same deterrent effect and the purpose of keeping unsound horses off track may be frustrated; (2) who decided to take the option? trainer? lead owner? co-owner? syndicate manager? majority of co-owners? A vote? Have you noticed the winner circle photos look like family reunions..The costs now mean a dozen or more people have ownership interests. So the claiming groups (and I am in one) have many members. Probably the best improvement would be more objective diagnostic (if they are not using one) for voiding claim. The soundness checklist would have specifics (because "soundness can be vague and illusive), but it sounds like the one used for the vet's lis is working. I think there will be more confidence in claiming, claiming races will be safer, more owners will be able to join racing. My group has lost out on numerous shakes recently, so it sure is heck is not slowing up claiming (see claiming report at BHP and compare to other tracks)... Even more money will be chasing the claiming stock now. Incentive to mask condition also is removed. Jockey safety is enhanced. The only one's worried should be those who use claiming races to move unsound horses. That said, the industry will need an enhanced retirement program (one not called 8K Claiming)...
Darrin More than 1 year ago
So,what is to stop "someone"(The state official or vet) from having someone they know,who claims a horse,and it runs very poorly,then having the claim be voided?Or on the other hand,a trainer could drop a horse to the bottom,win,and have the claim voided to keep the horse?But of course not,we can all trust the "officials" to be on the up and up----NOT!The claiming game has been the same way all these years,and the dumbasses try to fix something that isn`t broken?Of course,and horse running at the bottom claiming levels has some sort of problem,and yea,many horse come out of the race with soreness,tired,bleeding etc...BAD RULESo answer this question,ok.If the track vet is looking at all the horses before the race,he/she should pull the horse before it runs,correct?So now a lame horse can run the race,but the claim gets voided in the recieving barn?Again,DUMB RULE!
Rob More than 1 year ago
In a perfect world this would be the best way to take this. If the horse that has been claimed comes back to the testing area and has some lameness problems the person who has put in the claim should have the option to say yes I want to keep this horse because I want to breed this horse because it has some decent pedigree. Mr Miller brings up a great point. there. Bob in PA
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
I've been around racing in So. Cal many Many years...I claimed alot.. And of course After the race I have had horses that came back with very hot tendon problems and had to go to the fair circuit and drop them in for a claim and hoping for a win...along with a claim ... so i did not have to send them to the ranch and pay boarding fees.. when I first started claiming i looked for mares that had some pedigree so i had a way out with them by breeding them... I think the rule should be implemented... if this is the case.......... or.......... whatever Major problem might come up......However I think it also should be left to the discretion of the claimant if they wish to proceed...If a horse has a major problem it is right to protect the claimant...
Peter Miller More than 1 year ago
The safety of the horses and riders is first and foremost ALWAYS!! That does not take away from the fact that this is a poorly written and ill conceived rule. It was not well thought out and will have bad consequences for the horse racing industry in California. The spirit and intent of the rule is good but once again the CHRB has taken a good idea (synthetic tracks) and screwed it up! This rule is flawed in many ways and I hope the CHRB looks at the rule and fixes it. It cannot be subjective!! NYRA made the rule in an intelligent and thoughtful manner, If the horse is pulled up or vanned off the claim is voided at the option of the successful claimant. Simple, thoughtful,intelligent and NOT subjective.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Debra Medlock More than 1 year ago
Minor issues? A hot tendon or a limping horse is NOT a minor issue! It is a good ruling or California. Protest the horse and protect the owners, who are at the mercy of trainers in so many ways!
ognom98 . More than 1 year ago
anytime a field of starters are more likely to be sounder the horseplayer and the horse win.
Mike B More than 1 year ago
That sentence has a lot of wisdom... More confidence in the system means more wagering, which means greater pool, a higher rake---more money for track, purses, owner's trainers, etc... We can forget the horseplayer is funding the entire ride here. So we should keep their interest in mind (i.e., being able to trust form and that horses are relatively sound)...
gary More than 1 year ago
Like many have said here, I really think that if the horse ends up on the vet list then the person who puts in the claim can have the option to keep the claim if he so chooses (or have it voided). It allows the intent of the rule to stay in place.
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
hell you might as well include bleeders and horses that cant breathe...,
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
so lets play devils advocate......I want to claim a mare to retire her and breed her....shes older has a few areas of visible wear and tear (knee's/ankles)..but she's a hard knocker with a little TLC.....shes in for a reasonable tag in my mind and I want to claim her...I drop the slip..she wins for fun....im waiting for my horse to get out of the test barn after the race and im told that she was off in the right knee and is lame...my claim is voided......she shows up in the entries for an inflated claim price from the last race.....she breaks down and is destroyed....NOW WHO IS THE LOSER ? the poor mare could have been on my farm being let down to the life of reily as a broodmare...instead she's dead because of meddling people who don't know the arse from a hole in the ground...this from the people who keep on voting nancy Pelosi into office !!! LMAO you people in California are waaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy out there.
Christopher Clark More than 1 year ago
They call it private purchase
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The person who claimed the horse will be allowed to keep it regardless of the vet ruling. The authorities are talking about making this change at their next meeting.
Mike B More than 1 year ago
Think she'd have to get off the vet's list for the inflated race in your scenario. Clark makes a good point--using sale not claiming race as market for broodmares/stallions.
MD23 More than 1 year ago
Terrible rule. The CHRB needs to stop trying to make themselves sound smart and do what's right for the horsemen. And in this case, they failed to do that (again.) The CHRB is an embarassment right now.