The California Horse Racing Board said May 23 it is reviewing certain races "with significant form reversals," including the second race May 21 at Hollywood Park in which "a filly improved tremendously to win at relatively low odds while stepping up in class."
The CHRB, in a prepared statement, went so far as to note how unusual it is for it to issue a press release concerning a review of a race. The CHRB routinely reviews races in which horses reverse form to win. The board said the race in question "prompted so much comment" that it considered it necessary to reassure the public of its vigilance in such matters.
Though the statement said investigators are looking at certain "races," only one race is discussed in the press release.
The review may involve interviews with trainers, owners, veterinarians, and jockeys, as well as analyzing betting patterns. No additional details will be disclosed until the review is completed, the CHRB said in prepared statement.
Flyindownbaylaurel, a 3-year-old filly who had been badly beaten in all four of her previous career starts, reversed form to win by one length at 7-2 against seven rivals in a one-mile turf race for maidens. In her previous race, Flyindownbaylaurel finished eighth against lower-level maiden-claimers at almost 40-1.
Jerry Dutton trained Flyindownbaylaurel for her first four career starts, which all were run on the main track at shorter distances. She finished no better than seventh in those starts, and in three of those races she finished either last or next to last, always at 10-1 or higher.
Trainer Jeff Mullins submitted a claim on behalf of new owner Richard Englander to purchase Flyindownbaylaurel for $32,000 from her last start April 10 at seven furlongs at Santa Anita. Mullins stepped her up in class May 21 to the level of her first two career starts, maiden special weight company.
He changed her equipment by adding blinkers, and also ran the daughter of Alphabet Soup at the longer distance of one mile and on a new surface: grass. Alex Solis, who rode Flyindownbaylaurel in her second career start, was back aboard.
"The CHRB is continually working to insure that the racing industry in California benefits from the highest degree of regulatory scrutiny," CHRB chairman Roger Licht said. "The public and those involved in the sport must be confident their respective interests are protected to the maximum extent of the law."
The press release said CHRB investigators regularly take actions that are confidential in nature. At other times their enforcement activities are highly visible and well publicized, such as when they are joined by racetrack security personnel to provide enhanced security for important races like the three grade I events at Hollywood Park Memorial Day weekend.
"Hollywood Park has again shown exemplary cooperation in its willingness to assist the CHRB and help protect the interests of the racing community by providing security personnel for these important races," Licht said.