With field size a concern in California, the California Horse Racing Bard (CHRB) discussed a possible rule change at its July meeting that could potentially restrict in-state claimed horses from running outside of California.
The current rule in place restricts claimed horses from competing out of a state for a specific amount of time at most in-state tracks. CHRB and some industry stakeholders want to to expand upon the current measures in a more formal regulatory fashion.
The proposal for the rule change was sent to the CHRB’s Legislative, Legal, and Regulations Committee for review, and it seeks to ban a claimed horse from racing “in any state other than California until 60 days after the close of the meeting from where it was claimed, except (for) a stakes race.”
“There’s been considerable discussion over the last many months about short fields and about the fact that one of the contributing factors is the claiming and removal of horses from California (to) many locations east, where purses are enhanced with subsidies from gaming,” said CHRB Executive Director Rick Baedeker. “There are house rules in place at Del Mar and Santa Anita—where any horse claimed at the meet stays at the meet—(but) a horse could be claimed in the last couple of weeks and show up a day after a meet closes at one of those locations in the East.”
Baedeker also mentioned how legal restrictions that used to prevent “jail-time” efforts in the state weren’t impediments any longer, which was supported by CHRB Chief Counsel John McDonough.
“In 2003 we had an attorney general that thought instituting this rule would be in violation of the Interstate Commerce (Act),” said McDonough. “Since that period of time, some 27 of 38 states that allow wagering on (horse racing) have instituted rules similar to this and there’s been a dramatic change—in regards to Supreme Court decisions in the last few years—narrowing the scope of Interstate Commerce.
“Based on analysis done by the entire legal (team), we should ask for another opinion from the Attorney General, because we believe the board, if it chooses to, could institute this particular regulation and it could be defended.”
The proposed rule change will undergo further discussion before a final vote is tabulated.