California horse owner Jerry Jamgotchian says he is planning to race again in the state after an absence of about two years due to his dislike of synthetic tracks and the policies of the California Horse Racing Board.
The outspoken Jamgotchian is well known in racing circles for his criticism of the CHRB through widely circulated e-mails and has been involved in several legal actions against the agency. Unhappy with the board's 2007 synthetic track edict, he pulled his horses out of the state a short time later and transferred most of them to trainer Eric Reed, based in the midwest. He raced in California only a couple of times since.
He said he remains dissatisfied with the direction of the CHRB, but Jamgotchian said he feels California is a better place to race now because the "purse structure is higher" and smaller stakes fields increase the chances of his horses acquiring black-type than, for example, at Gulfstream Park.
"There are less horses in California to compete against. The new dirt track at Santa Anita is also an impetus," he said.
Jamgotchian said he currently has 45 horses in training and plans to keep eight to 16 stalls for his horses at Santa Anita. The remainder would be based at Keeneland, Oaklawn Park, Gulfstream, and Tampa Bay Downs. He said Reed would continue to train his California string.
"I want to race and the opportunities are better in California. The purse structure is higher but the costs are higher too," he said. "I want to give it a chance. And obviously, I'm a contrarian. I'm sending horses (to California) that are ready to run."