CHRB Considers Repeal of Horse Coupling Rule

Public comment sought prior to holding hearing on eliminating practice April 28.

The California Horse Racing Board is seeking public comment prior to conducting a hearing next month on a proposal to completely eliminate the coupling of horses in California races.

The public hearing will be part of the regular monthly board meeting scheduled April 28 at Hollywood Park.

As proposed, Rule 1606 (coupling of horses) would essentially be repealed as it pertains to coupling two or more horses as a single wagering interest for any reason. Instead, an amended rule would require when “two or more horses that are entered in the same race are owned in whole or in part by the same person or persons, or are trained by the same trainer, the racing association shall take such actions as are necessary to adequately inform the public, including publishing the name of the owners and trainer in the official program ... and announcing the circumstances over the public address system.”

The 45-day public comment period for this and related regulatory changes began March 4. Written comments will be accepted until April 18. Written comments must be submitted to Harold Coburn, regulations analyst, at the California Horse Racing Board, 1010 Hurley Way, Suite 300, Sacramento, CA 95825, either by regular mail or by email to The public also is encouraged to comment during the board meeting. The agenda for that meeting, including the starting time, will be posted on the CHRB website ( by April 18.

In approving the proposed coupling amendment for public notice in January, several racing commissioners stated their intent was to create more betting interests by eliminating the coupling rule, which currently requires horses with identical ownership to race as a single wagering interest. The commissioners stressed the importance of informing the public when horses with the same owner and/or trainer are competing uncoupled in the same race.