CHRB Seeks Emergency Rule on Surveillance

The California Horse Racing Board is seeking to enact a rule that would allow for increased surveillance and security at any facility under its jurisdiction. The rule would go into effect by the middle of the upcoming Oak Tree at Santa Anita Park meet.

The rule was proposed during a regular meeting of the CHRB's ad-hoc security committee Sept. 20 at Santa Anita. The rule effectively would allow the board to monitor any horse using any monitoring device, including audio or video or "any other means determined by the board."

Equipped with an urgency clause, the rule wouldn't need legislative approval and could become active as soon as 10 days after passing through the state's Office of Administrative Law.

"We need to use every tool available to us to deter anyone with any inclination to cheat," CHRB commissioner Richard Shapiro said. "We need to step out front and me more aggressive (to stop cheating). We added the urgency clause because (the perception of cheating) is hurting our business--attendance, handle, horse population, and loss of owners."

The new rule provides punishment provisions for any licensee in violation of CHRB regulation, including fines, suspension, and loss of stalls. Shapiro urged representatives of trainers and owners groups, as well as racetrack associations to be active in supporting the rule by writing letters to the CHRB.

Magna Entertainment Corp. chairman Ron Charles agreed. "We need to have every horseracing organization in the state behind it," Charles said. "It has to be the entire (state) industry stepping up and not saying we're behind it, but we're really behind it."

Other issues addressed by the committee included the addition of personnel to monitor the stable area, additional funding for added security, and establishing criteria for earned surveillance.