09/02/2011 2:34PM

California racing board rewiewing horsemen's petition

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DEL MAR, Calif. – The California Horse Racing Board announced Thursday that it has launched a review of signatures submitted in a recent petition drive by an upstart group of horsemen attempting to decertify the Thoroughbred Owners of California as the state’s official representative for Thoroughbred horsemen.

Not all of the more than 1,100 signatures submitted by the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association may be valid, according to the state’s attorney general.

Some signatures will be automatically eliminated, according to a racing board statement. Owners who hold other licenses, such as a trainer’s license, cannot participate in the petition, according to a decision issued earlier this summer by the state attorney general, the racing board said in a statement.

The California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, officially formed this past spring, announced last month that it had gathered enough signatures to force an election, which would poll owners as to which organization should represent horsemen.

To force an election, the new association needs at least 770 valid signatures, or approximately 10 percent of registered owners. It is unclear how many of the submitted signatures will be eliminated.

The racing board is reviewing the signatures, and the category of licenses held by the participants. Racing board staff will contact a random number of petition participants by letter, asking if their signatures are valid on the document, according to a racing board statement.

If a sufficient number of signatures are validated, the racing board will conduct an election in coming months.

The new horsemen’s group is seeking numerous changes, including equal representation for owners and trainers on a board of directors. The current 15-person TOC board of directors included 12 owners and three owner-trainers.