Reducing Risk

We believe there’s always more we can do to improve safety. That’s why California racing is committed to ongoing research and maintaining the highest regulatory standards.

Research

The Racing Injury Prevention Program, a partnership of the CHRB and UC Davis, launched in 2010 with a mission of enhancing the welfare of horses and riders by reducing the incidence of injuries in racehorses at California racetracks and training facilities.

 

Medication and Testing

California is once again at the forefront of medication reform.

In 2008, California was among the first states to ban anabolic steroids in racehorses, and California was also one of the first states to adopt the RMTC National Uniform Medication Program, which restricts the use of several medications and imposes limitations on the use of corticosteroids. California was also the first state to adopt a rule giving the CHRB authority to greatly restrict the overuse of the therapeutic medication clenbuterol at racetracks.

Track Surfaces and Maintenance

Racing surfaces undergo daily maintenance and frequent testing to optimize all surfaces — whether turf, dirt, or synthetic — for the safety of horses and riders. 

Through the Track Safety Standards Project at UC Davis, standards are being developed for the maintenance of consistent racing surfaces. Specially assigned safety stewards monitor track surfaces and, in consultation with nationally recognized experts on racing surfaces — such as Dr. Mick Peterson at the University of Kentucky and Dr. Susan Stover at UC Davis — work with each track to maintain safe surfaces for racing and training. 

To assess the condition of racing surfaces, chemical and X-ray diffraction studies, as well as ground penetrating radar, may be used to test track qualities such as surface density and moisture content, and to detect variations in the base of a track and the depth of its cushion.

Transparency

We participate in the National Equine Health data collection and other veterinary research initiatives. In the unfortunate event of catastrophic injury, the outcome is reported and a mandatory necropsy is performed by the professionals at UC Davis. We use these findings to help improve safety measures and to help prevent injuries in the future.