Santa Anita Park grandstand in Arcadia, Calif.
The California legislature on Monday unanimously passed Senate Bill 469, giving the California Horse Racing Board sweeping authority to immediately suspend racing over safety and welfare concerns for horses and jockeys.
Introduced by Sen. Bill Dodd, the measure gives the CHRB authority to change, limit, restrict or reallocate racing dates that had previously been assigned. As a condition of lifting a suspension, a licensed track would be required to comply with any additional safety standards or other requirements set by the board.
The legislation came in the wake of a spike in racing and training fatalities at Santa Anita. The track’s owners, The Stronach Group, voluntarily suspended racing in March to investigate the racing surface, but opted to continue to race after a later request by officers of the CHRB to suspend racing a second time.
SB469 passed 78-0 in the Assembly and 40-0 in the Senate.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, who expressed support for the bill, is expected to sign it into law.
The Santa Anita winter and spring meet, which began Dec. 26, ended on Sunday, June 23, after 30 horses died during racing or training.
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