Benoit Photo

TVG to Air Upcoming Santa Anita Winter Meet

Hollywood Park added to HRTV schedule in agreement announced at CHRB meeting Oct. 18.

Live racing from Santa Anita Park will be available to viewers nationwide on TVG during the track's upcoming winter meet, the California Horse Racing Board learned Oct. 18.

During the CHRB's regular monthly meeting at Santa Anita, Scott Daruty, representing Santa Anita, told the board that the Betfair Hollywood Park spring/summer meet will be added to the HRTV schedule as well. It means the two competing networks will both air live racing from the two longest race meets of the year in Southern California.

Daruty said the agreement lasts through the end of Hollywood's summer meet.

The announcement met with strong approval from CHRB chairman Keith Brackpool, who has long been critical of Santa Anita's television distribution over HRTV, which is owned by The Stronach Group. DISH Network carries HRTV, but the largest satellite distribution service, DIRECTV, does not, nor do many of the major cable television carriers.

TVG, which is also the nation's largest advance deposit wagering provider, is on DIRECTV and most cable carriers.

"This is transformational, I believe, in actually allowing the majority of people to know that Santa Anita is racing," Brackpool said.

He added: "So at least we will be able to see with some scientific data whether our belief that people watching a race actually encourages them to participate in the handle is true. I think this is a very, very big move forward."

With the start of the 2013 racing season just a little more than two months away, the board later gave approval for license applications to the operators of Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields.

Los Angeles Turf Club, which operates Santa Anita, will observe its traditional Dec. 26 opening day and run for 71 days through April 21. The stand will have eight fewer days than in 2011-12 and approximately 30 less races while maintaining the previous year's purse level.

Pacific Racing Association got the go-ahead on Golden Gate's proposed 101-day meeting, the same length as last year. The San Francisco Bay area track is scheduled to run from Dec. 26 to June 16.

The board gave approval to a new company, British-based Watch and Wager LLC, to operate the harness meet at Cal Expo from Dec. 26 through May 25. Los Alamitos Race Course also got approval for its year-long Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred meet commencing Dec. 28 through Dec. 22 of next year.

The board also approved for 45-day public comment periods a pair of proposed rule amendments concerning drug policies.

One rule modification would update the board's penalty classifications for the first time since 2008 to adhere to current recommendations from the Association of Racing Commissioners International, with some exceptions.

The other would also follow RCI guidelines restricting authorized bleeder medication to furosemide, also known as Lasix or Salix. The single intravenous injection would only be administered by the official veterinarian, the racing veterinarian, or a designee of the official veterinarian. The amendment would prevent private vets from administering the race-day drug.

At the conclusion of the 45-day public comment period, the proposed changes return to the CHRB for final consideration.