California governor backs bill expanding racing board powers

LOS ANGELES -- Gov. Gavin Newsom is supporting a state Senate bill that would give the California Horse Racing Board authority to quickly suspend a meet license to protect the health and safety of horses or riders.

The announcement Thursday comes amid deaths of 26 horses at Santa Anita since Dec. 26.

Newsom says in a statement that the horse fatalities are unacceptable.

The legislation by Sen. Bill Dodd would allow the board to immediately suspend a license without the usual legal notice of at least 10 days.

The track has instituted various reforms due to the deaths, which have involved injuries during training or racing resulting in euthanasia.

Santa Anita's current meet ends June 23. On Nov. 1-2, it will host the Breeders' Cup, the biggest two-day event in U.S. horse racing.
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