CHRB Rule Would Void Claim if Horse Bleeds

A provision voiding the claim of a horse placed on the veterinarian's list for bleeding was approved for a 45-day public comment period by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), though members expressed their concerns during a meeting Feb. 18 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.

The proposed amendment on claiming rules states that "bled" is defined as "the official veterinarian observing a horse bleeding from one or both nostrils during or after the race and determines such bleeding is a direct result of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage." Claims in California currently can be voided on horses found to be unsound in post-race examinations conducted by the official track veterinarian.

Multiple CHRB members voiced concerns about "over-regulating" the claiming process, but the board got significant push-back from both equine medical director Rick Arthur, DVM, and California Thoroughbred Trainers president Jim Cassidy.

"I disagree with the premise that horses bleed from the nostril without any previous indication," Arthur said. "It does happen, but in terms of protecting the horse, this is a reasonable step."

Cassidy not only echoed Arthur's concern for the animals' welfare, but also argued for fairness regarding claims to ensure trainers are discouraged from entering faulty horses for the purposes of unloading them on another trainer.

Under a certain circumstance, a claiming trainer could have to sit a horse out for 180 days if the animal receives a "bled" tag for the third time. A 15-day sit-out period is given to horses who are listed as "bled" the first time, and 30 days on the sidelines are required for second occurrences.

"We're concerned about the welfare of the horse, but also for the person (who) claims the horse," Cassidy said. "The trainer (might have) to eat the horse for 180 days or the rest of his life. This is a big deal. Not that there's a little blood. If they bleed through the nostrils, that's very sincere. That's a whole lot of blood. This is about protecting the animal."

In other CHRB decisions, the board passed two medication amendments, including a provision that requires furosemide, also known as Salix or Lasix, to be administered by third-party veterinarians who are prohibited from working as private vets or technicians at the racetrack or with participating parties. The change, which was approved for a 45-day public comment period, would bring California in line with 13 other states that have similar guidelines.

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Jeremy Balan

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