The Los Angeles County Fair's desire to move its September racing meet to Santa Anita Park has become a referendum on Magna Entertainment Corp.'s control of California racing dates.
Trainers Ben Cecil and Howard Zucker were slapped with fines by the California Horse Racing Board for positive drug tests produced from races at Del Mar last summer, it was announced May 30.
The proposed transfer of Los Angeles County Fair racing dates from Fairplex to Santa Anita Park has drawn immediate opposition from another tenant of Santa Anita, the Oak Tree Racing Association, as well as others.
Fairplex Park and the Los Angeles Turf Club have reached an agreement to move the county fair's annual 17-day end-of-summer meet to Santa Anita Park beginning this September, and have requested a change of venue from the California Horse Racing Board to be heard at its June 6 meeting.
A Los Angeles federal district court judge dismissed the California Horse Racing Board's morphine case against trainer Bob Baffert April 15.
Commercial ads are scheduled to begin showing up on jockey and racing silks with the start of the spring meets in California, but they're a little slow to make the starting gate.
The California Horse Racing Board heard a positive report on the startup of account wagering. But it was tempered by concern over a leveling off of activity in recent weeks. It was also reported that an agreement still has to be reached for the upcoming Hollywood Park meet.
More than $14.5 million has been wagered through California's advance deposit wagering system in the first two months of operation, or about 3.5% of total handle. But while account wagering services had a burst of activity, officials said they were concerned about the leveling off of wagering and the number of new account holders over the past four weeks.
Given the state's mandate that trainers at racetracks must carry current workmens' compensation policies, horsemen whose policies expire March 1 were scrambling to find alternatives this week. The crisis threatens to force some trainers out of the business.
Various industry groups continue to work together to alleviate the workers' compensation crisis in California. Current contracts held by about 300 trainers in the state were set to expire March 1.
Youbet.com has been licensed by the California Horse Racing Board to offer account-wagering services to residents of California, effective immediately. Meanwhile, through Feb. 18, account-wagering handle through two other systems topped $5 million in the Golden State.
The California Horse Racing Board and racetrack stewards are developing procedures for a regulation that received final state approval this week permitting advertising on jockey attire, owner silks, and track saddlecloths during a race.
Data from California's first six days of legal account wagering shows an average daily handle of $139,850 on all breeds of racing. The handle is less than 1% of the state's total average daily handle.
XpressBet, Magna Entertainment's revamped Internet and telephone service for in-home wagering, was "overwhelmed" by applications from prospective customers during its launch Jan. 26-27, a top company official said.
The California Horse Racing Board has granted licenses to two companies to offer account wagering effective immediately, and betting will begin. But the licenses are time-sensitive, and some deals with horsemen remain in limbo.
At the invitation of The Blood-Horse, each of the four license applicants seeking to offer Advance Deposit Wagering in California was asked to provide a brief statement concerning their applications. With the exception of Youbet.com, which declined to submit a statement, the responses can be viewed at the following links.
Applications from four companies seeking to offer Advance Deposit Wagering, or account wagering, in California will be considered by the California Horse Racing Board Thursday, Jan. 24. The regulations were approved by the state last Friday, allowing the CHRB to proceed with consideration of the applications from Autotote Enterprises Inc., Magna Entertainment Corporation, ODS Technologies (TVG), and Youbet.com. At the invitation of The Blood-Horse, each of the four license applicants was asked to provide a brief statement concerning their proposal for account wagering in California. Here is the response from Autotote Enterprises:
Applications from four companies seeking to offer Advance Deposit Wagering, or account wagering, in California will be considered by the California Horse Racing Board Thursday, Jan. 24. The regulations were approved by the state last Friday, allowing the CHRB to proceed with consideration of the applications from Autotote Enterprises Inc., Magna Entertainment Corporation, ODS Technologies (TVG), and Youbet.com. At the invitation of The Blood-Horse, each of the four license applicants was asked to provide a brief statement concerning their proposal for account wagering in California. Here is the response from ODS Technologies' TVG operation.
By John W. Russell -- An essential precept for any impartial enforcement of the rules of racing is judgment, and nowhere on the American Turf has this principle been better upheld than under the keen eye and vast experience of Pete Pedersen, senior steward for the California Horse Racing Board.
Applications from four companies seeking to offer account wagering in California will be considered by the California Horse Racing Board on Jan. 24.
With the California Horse Racing Board only days from ruling on four applications for license to conduct advance deposit wagering, it isn't clear where three of the state's major tracks -- Santa Anita Park, Bay Meadows, and Golden Gate Fields -- are going to have their races televised.
A board of three stewards at Santa Anita Park ruled that no penalty should be assessed against trainer Jesus (Jesse) Mendoza for a morphine positive found in a horse he trained in June, 2000. The Jan. 10 ruling stated that Mendoza had "mitigated the circumstances of the charge."
Racing and breeding news from the Thoroughbred industry
In his first ride in a competitive race since February 2000, jockey Pat Valenzuela rode 17-1 shot Fall For Me to a second-place finish in the fourth race on Santa Anita's opening-day card Wednesday.
The clock ticks for the arrival of account wagering in California, and it may keep ticking well into the new year. The earliest the state's racing fans can expect to be able to open accounts and begin telephone or Internet wagering is mid-February 2002, but depending on how well the regulatory review process goes, wagering might not occur until some time in May.
Five Southern California trainers have been fined $1,500 each by the California Horse Racing Board after an herbal product they used on horses under their care was found to contain two banned substances. A hearing will be held in January.
The on-again, off-again career of jockey Patrick Valenzuela is on again. Valenzuela, 39, received a conditional license to resume riding from the California Horse Racing Board on Friday and will begin working horses Saturday, according to his attorney, Don Calabria.
For the first time in 20 years, California racing will get a real holiday. Racing takes a Christmas break after the Monday, Dec. 17 programs at Golden Gate Fields and Hollywood Park, and the action doesn't return until Dec. 26, when Golden Gate resumes and Santa Anita Park opens its traditional winter
Fairplex Park has had discussions about moving its 17-day Los Angeles County Fair meet to another track in metropolitan Southern California. But Wendy Talarico, communications manager for the fair, said there are no plans to do anything commercially with the racetrack grounds. And, contrary to a published report that the Pomona, Calif., track has an agreement in principle with Hollywood Park, Talarico said no deal has been done.
Alan Landsburg believes account wagering can do a lot of good for California, but only if is it used to introduce a new audience to horse racing. Otherwise, it "will be little more than a pinky in a crumbling dike," the California Horse Racing Board chairman said.
With the California Horse Racing Board giving final approval last Friday to regulations for advance deposit wagering, Youbet.com is gearing up to begin taking wagers in the state once it is legal in January 2002.
The long-winding process of making legal account wagering part of California's horse racing landscape got a quick approval Friday, Nov. 30, from the state Horse Racing Board.
Advertising on jockey attire, owners' silks and track saddle cloths is now legal at California tracks. Although some concerns were raised regarding conflicts that advertising could cause, the California Horse Racing Board gave the change in race regulations unanimous approval Friday, Nov. 30.
A March 4, 2002, trial date has been set for Northern California Thoroughbred owners Michele Serrao and Bryan Rosenquist in connection with allegations the couple embezzled $12.7 million from Bank of America.
California Horse Racing Board officials are refusing to discuss a federal judge's decision to dismiss the board's case against trainer Bob Baffert in regard to a positive test for morphine in one of his horses last year.
Will Nevada-style gambling come to California racetracks soon? Not likely, said the president of the Federation of California Racetracks, Jack Liebau, who offered only lukewarm interest for a state gambling initiative that would allow racetracks to offer a full range of Las Vegas-style games, including slot machines.
On Monday, Nov. 19, a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed the California Horse Racing Board's case against trainer Bob Baffert over a morphine positive found in a post-race urine sample of a Baffert-trained horse last year.
In an attempt to head off a backstretch union movement before it gains momentum, California trainers have formed a group called the "Employee Education Association" to tackle the issue.
A push is under way in California for expanded gaming at proposed casinos or any outlet that currently holds a gaming license, including racetracks, according to published reports.
With the possibility of account wagering in California as soon as Jan. 1, officials at Magna Entertainment Corp., the owner of three major racetracks in the state, is keeping its plans quiet -- for now.
Recent legislation passed in California and signed by Gov. Gray Davis will allow Northern California racetracks and county fairs to expand simulcasting if the number of live racing dates is reduced. The new law also allows additional simulcasting if live racing is interrupted because of power failures that have plagued the state in recent years.
California Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation authorizing the California Horse Racing Board to enter into an interstate compact for owners license but vetoed a bill that would have permitted racetracks and owners to lower takeout on betting handle.
More than 500 people turned out for a community meeting in Dixon, Calif., to hear Magna officials discuss their proposal for a state-of-the-art racetrack and training facility with a major-league price tag. Though they would not disclose a budget, Magna officials earlier had estimated its cost for the project at up to $150 million.
Two horses were scratched at Santa Anita on Wednesday after it was detected that both had sponges in their nasal passages.
The California Horse Racing board approved 15 proposed regulations for public notice Friday, setting the stage for account wagering to be in place in January after the proposed regulations pass through the administrative channels. The seven racing commissioners also voted unanimously to elect commissioner Alan Landsburg chairman.
The California Horse Racing Board has issued a complaint against licensed horse owner Gregory Allen Long for allegedly selling equine herbal products at a state racetrack without a required vendor's license.
Now comes the hard part. With Gov. Gray Davis' signing of Assembly Bill 471 on Aug. 13, California will soon usher in account wagering as well as see the unionization of racetrack backstretch workers. But how? The approval of the legislation, which go into effect Jan. 1, 2002, is only the first step in a lengthy process.
An undisclosed number of positive tests for the Class 3 drugs phenylpropanoloamine and norpseudoephedrine has prompted the California Horse Racing Board to urge trainers to scrutinize any herbal products or food supplements they feed their horses. Fifteen trainers were notified on Aug. 9 by the board, asking them to avoid a specific herbal product.
Magna Entertainment plans to increase stabling fees at its San Luis Rey Downs training center in Bonsall, Calif. in an effort to offset annual losses of $750,000.
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