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CHRB Awards Golden Gate Fields, County Fairs 2024 Dates – Horse Racing News

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Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif.

The California Horse Racing Board conducted a meeting on Thursday, Sept. 21, at Cal Expo in Sacramento. Chairman Gregory Ferraro chaired the meeting, joined by Vice Chair Oscar Gonzales and Commissioners Dennis Alfieri, Damascus Castellanos, Brenda Washington Davis, Thomas Hudnut, and Wendy Mitchell.

The audio of this entire Board meeting is available on the CHRB Website (www.chrb.ca.gov) under the Webcast link, accessed through the Media Room tab. In brief:

The Board allocated race dates to Northern California thoroughbreds and fairs for the first nine months of 2024, including six months to Golden Gate Fields (GGF), after industry negotiations and pending legislation prompted The Stronach Group to delay shuttering GGF until late-June 2024.

Date allocations for the final quarter of 2024 will be determined at later meetings after racing fairs decide whether to request dates beyond the normal summer fair season to fill the gap created by the closure of GGF. During any weeks when there is no racing in the north, simulcast revenue will be directed to southern interests under AB 1074, if it is signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The date allocations begin Dec. 20, 2023, at GGF, through June 11, 2024. Allocations include simulcast-only days. Actual race days will be determined when the Board considers license applications.

The allocations for fairs begin in Pleasanton with the Alameda County Fair (June 12-July 9), then the State Fair at Cal Expo (July 10-July 30), the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa (July 31-Aug. 20), the Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale (Aug. 21-Sept. 10), followed by three weeks of non-allocated dates, then finally the Big Fresno Fair (Oct. 2-Oct. 15).

The Board also approved date allocations for harness racing at Cal Expo from Dec. 26, 2023, through May 7, 2024.

  • The Board approved the license of the Pacific Racing Association for a meet at Golden Gate Fields that will operate from Oct. 21-Dec. 11. During this fall meet, GGF will race on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.
  • The Board approved the license for the Big Fresno Fair for a fair meet in Fresno that will operate from Oct. 6-Oct. 15.
  • The Board approved for public notice a proposed regulatory amendment to prohibit the administration of a corticosteroid injection into a high-motion joint of a horse unless diagnostic imaging is performed within seven days preceding the injection. High-motion joints are the metacarpophalangeal, metatarsophalangeal, and carpus joints. Chairman Ferraro said he hopes other racing jurisdictions will follow California’s lead in discouraging steroid injections, which can be damaging to a horse’s joint, in favor of other medications.
  • The Board approved for public notice proposed regulatory amendments pertaining to CHRB occupational licenses and fees.
  • The Board approved for public notice a proposed regulatory amendment prohibiting  manipulation of a horse’s ear for purposes of controlling the horse when on the track before a race.
  • The Board approved for public notice proposed regulatory amendments to prohibit endoscopies and medications administered via hypodermic needles or nasogastric tubes except by authorized individuals.
  • The Board authorized Watchandwager.com to distribute $785 in race date charity proceeds, supplemented by $4,714 of Watchandwager.com money, to five beneficiaries.
  • Dr. Jeff Blea, equine medical director, reported advancements in technology that eventually will lead to sensors on horses that will measure strides, vitals, and other health indicators.
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