03/24/2016 2:06PM

Claiming rule changed to include horses who bleed

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The criteria to void a claim at California racetracks will be expanded on July 1 to include horses that bleed through the nostrils, California Horse Racing Board executive director Rick Baedeker said on Thursday at the monthly meeting of the racing board in Sacramento.

The racing board voted to approve the rule change last December, and it was recently granted approval by the state’s office of administrative law, Baedeker said.

Previously, claims could be voided for unsoundness or if a horse dies during the running of a race or is euthanized before leaving the racetrack. Last December, Rick Arthur, California’s equine medical director, said 41 horses were placed on the vet’s list for bleeding from Jan. 1 to Dec. 1, 2015. He said 27 of those horses ran in claiming races, and four were claimed.

The determination of whether a horse has bled from the nostrils will be made by an official veterinarian.

* All-sources handle at California tracks was static through February when compared to the first two months of 2015, according to data presented at Thursday’s racing board meeting.

Handle for the first two months of the year on Thoroughbreds at Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita was $447.4 million, down less than 1 percent from the 2015 figure of $450.3 million. With harness racing and Quarter Horse meetings included, the total for the state was $501.4 million, down fractionally from the 2015 figure of $502.6 million.

Betting on all three breeds fell 2.7 percent in February after showing an increase of 1.9 percent in January. Handle on Thoroughbred races in February was $203.7 million, a decline of 3.7 percent compared to $211.6 million in February of last year. There were 16 days of racing in both years. With harness and Quarter Horse meetings included, handle in February was $227.7 million compared to $234.2 million last year.