Trainer John Shirreffs has been named to chair a newly created medication advisory panel for the California Horse Racing Board to provide consultation with the agency's medication and track safety committee, it was announced Feb. 10.
Commissioner Bo Derek, who chairs the medication and track safety committee, also named Scott Chaney and Lou Raffetto to the three-member advisory panel. Chaney is a steward on the Southern California Thoroughbred circuit. Raffetto is president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.
“We are very fortunate that three individuals with their levels of expertise have stepped up and volunteered to work with our committee to help deal with some of the most significant issues in horse racing today,” said Derek.
“They will complement the excellent support we’re already receiving from Dr. Rick Arthur, our equine medical director, and other faculty at UC Davis. Together they will provide the California Horse Racing Board with the input we require to make well-informed, critical decisions affecting all of horse racing.”
Some of the issues currently before the medication and track safety committee are the national proposal to eliminate or greatly restrict the administration of medication to horses in races, continued monitoring of the CHRB Track Safety Program in an effort to identify the causes of equine racing injuries with the goal of reducing them, and various drug-testing issues pertaining to the health of the horse and the integrity of racing.
Shirreffs is best known for his conditioning and management of such equine stars as 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) winner Life Is Sweet, and Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo . But he has for some years been quietly involved in the regulatory process for matters pertaining to racetrack surfaces, equine medication, horseshoeing practices, drug testing, and related concerns. He has attended numerous CHRB meetings to provide a horseman’s perspective on proposed rules, procedures, and policies.
Raffetto also will provide a horsemen’s perspective as the representative of the official Thoroughbred owners organization in California. Raffetto previously served as racing secretary at Laurel Park, assistant general manager at Monmouth Park, executive vice president of racing at Suffolk Downs, and chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club.
Chaney earned a law degree at USC after graduating from Dartmouth College, passed the California Bar exam, and currently is licensed to practice law in California. He became interested in working in the horse racing business while walking hots and grooming for Darrell Vienna during the summers while attending USC. After law school, he became Vienna’s assistant. He became a California steward in 2005 and has since worked with the medication and track safety committee and the board on a variety of projects.