Friday 29 March - 14h26 | Ian Clayton

California Racing Board advances whip limit proposal and approves medication changes

In response to proposed changes to whip and medication practices in horse racing following 22 equine fatalities at Santa Anita Park in California, the state's racing board has approved a proposal aimed at limiting whip use at that track and Golden Gate Fields, but only advanced the controversial idea to a 45-day public comment period.

Meanwhile, the Board also approved a reduction in the permissible use of race-day Lasix ("a diuretic that is used to prevent race horses from bleeding" but which some say could have performance-enhancing effects) and a ban on the presence of anti-inflammatory medications on race day.

Racing is set to resume today (Friday, March 29) at the track. 

As Jeremy Balan wrote in Horse Racing Nation, ​"Santa Anita has not raced since March 5 after 21 equine fatalities occurred during racing and training at the Southern California track since its meet opened Dec. 26. On March 14, hours after a 22nd fatality occurred during training at Santa Anita, Belinda Stronach, the chairman and president of The Stronach Group, released a public letter that outlined sweeping changes for Santa Anita and Golden Gate, including the ban of Lasix; a ban on therapeutic anti-inflammatories, joint injections, shockwave therapy, and anabolic steroids; complete transparency of all veterinary records; increased out-of-competition testing; and other measures aimed at equine welfare. Racing is set to resume Friday at Santa Anita." From more on both issues from HRN, see here and here. 

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