Reducing Risk

We’re stewards of this sport and its horses, and we believe that means reducing the risks of racing. California racing is committed to ongoing research and maintaining the highest regulatory standards in pursuit of our safety and welfare goals.


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.

Beginning in 2019, California started to align its medication policy with the standards of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, phasing out the race day use of furosemide (Lasix), a drug already widely banned on race day in racing countries outside North America. With the approval of the CHRB and the cooperation of major racetrack companies and most independent racing associations, the use of Lasix within 24 hours of racing will be banned in 2-year-old horses beginning in 2020. The ban will include stakes races for horses of all ages in 2021. Before 2020, the maximum dose of Lasix allowed on race day has been cut in half at the Stronach Group-owned tracks, Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Park.

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.


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.