Thoroughbred racing is regulated by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), which oversees all aspects of horse racing, licensing, and wagering. Established in 1933 and now part of the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency, the CHRB acts to ensure the integrity, viability, and safety of horse racing in the state. Board members, appointed by the governor of California, are drawn from leaders in business, public service, horse racing, and veterinary care to bring their expertise to bear on the racing industry.
The CHRB protects animal welfare and fosters safer horse racing by developing and enforcing safety standards and regulations for all racing participants. CHRB investigators are sworn police officers whose duties include patrolling the stable areas at all California racetracks and authorized training facilities. CHRB regulations include a specific animal welfare provision, and the CHRB will prosecute any case of abuse, cruelty, neglect, and mistreatment. The CHRB cooperates with other law enforcement and state investigative agencies.
As of June 26, 2019, with the signing of legislative bill SB-469 into law, the CHRB is empowered to take immediate action to cancel or move a race meet if the safety of horses or riders is deemed at risk.
Del Mar, Golden Gate Fields, Los Alamitos, and Santa Anita Park racetracks are accredited by the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance, a national initiative to ensure best practices and standards throughout racing facilities in the US and Canada. NTRA accreditation covers six areas of concern: Injury prevention and reporting; the safety of racing and training environments; uniform medication, testing, and penalties; the safety and health of jockeys; aftercare for retired racehorses; and wagering security. Racetracks must undergo an on-site inspection for initial accreditation and re-accreditation every three years.