"Not everybody's happy (with the changes)," Fermin said. "But we did put a lot of thought into all of this. A lot can and is being done to make California racing better.""Turnover in the steward's stand is a good thing," CHRB chairman John Harris said. "We need to enable more capable people to become stewards and we have a very big pool of well-qualified individuals who have passed the steward's test and our intent is to utilize some of them.""Stewards are independent contractors and not employees," Fermin said. "These three men have served this industry for many years and have done great jobs. Merlin is a war hero and former jockey who never got days, or maybe only got them once. Pete is an Eclipse Award winner and Jack is in the harness Hall of Fame. These achievements are not to be forgotten, the decision was a very difficult one. What they've done for this game in this state is not to be forgotten."
Pedersen will step down from the stewards' stand after 50 years in the position at the end of the current Hollywood Park meeting July 17.
Fermin noted that several changes are to take effect within the next few weeks within the state, including the transfer of responsibility of testing for TCO2 to the state and the use of the University of California at Davis as a single testing lab. "It was very important to accomplish what we have as far as TCO2 testing now that the CHRB is set to take over the testing program in July," she said. "It's important that the infractions produce the same consequences, from the taking of the purse and additional penalties."
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