09/24/2002 11:00PM

California votes insurance relief

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POMONA, Calif. - The California Horse Racing Board on Wednesday gave unanimous approval to an increase in the amount of money earmarked for the vanning and stabling fund, with the extra money to be used to help offset the costs of workers' compensation insurance for trainers.

The CHRB vote assumes that California Gov. Gray Davis will sign pending legislation allowing for this transfer of funds. Davis has until Monday to sign the bill, and he is expected to do so.

The bill allows for the portion that goes to the fund to increase to as much as 1.25 percent of handle. Currently, .7 percent of money wagered in northern California goes to the fund, and .74 from Southern California.

Jack Liebau, Santa Anita's president, proposed that the CHRB give its approval to an increase to .87 percent in the north, and .94 in the south, saying sufficient funds were available at that level, and that an increase to 1.25 percent was not needed. Representatives of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, and California Thoroughbred Trainers, agreed with Liebau's figures.

There will be no effect on bettors, as takeout will not increase. The extra money that goes to the vanning and stabling fund will reduce the amount that goes to purses and commissions to racetracks. The total amount is not to exceed $5 million, according to John Reagan of the CHRB.

Liebau said there were "upwards of 200 horses" in Washington state that could come to California this winter if there is "some mitigation of the workers' comp issue."