In response to the increasing number of horse deaths at Santa Anita Park, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday his support for SB 469, which would authorize the California Horse Racing Board to suspend horse racing licenses to protect the health and safety of horses and riders.
Since December 2018, 26 horses have died at the race track.
“The recent horse fatalities in California are unacceptable,'' Newsom said in a statement. “We must hold the horse racing industry to account. If we can regulate horse race meets, we should have the authority to suspend licenses when animal or human welfare is at risk.''
In addition to supporting SB 469 the governor also announced that his administration has taken substantive regulatory actions through the horse racing board.
The board has initiated special investigations into all fatalities at Santa Anita this year. Investigations are being conducted by a team of sworn CHRB investigators, an official veterinarian and a safety steward.
The board has also suspended authorization of 11 previously lawful corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory medications from being present in race horses on race day at all tracks in California. They say this will prevent the masking-effect such medications can have in horse.
They have also increased official veterinarian, safety steward and investigator
staffing at Santa Anita.
A new regulation going into effect July 1, will expand out-of-competition testing and provide a means for the board to prosecute offenders who abuse prescribed medications.
CNS contributed to this report.