The Ins and Outs

DID YOU KNOW…

California boasts the healthiest and most successful horse racing industry in North America: it employs 30,000 people, has generated $3.5 billion dollars in revenue, and is the state’s tenth-largest industry.

A claim is legally invalid if the name of the horse is misspelled on the claim form.

No owner (or his/her representative) with a horse in a race can place any form of wager on any other horse TO WIN in that race (this rule even extends to all permutations of “exotic wagers”).

At certain tracks (especially in Northern California), on-site stabling of your horse for a specified period is a condition for eligibility in certain races.

The Jockey Club “foal registration certificate,” updated with your name as current owner, must be on file with the Racing Secretary before your horse can be entered in a race. In the event that you buy or claim a horse and discover that the horse’s papers have been destroyed or lost, arrangements must be made through the Horse Identification Office to obtain duplicates. (See Sample Forms & Charts, Figure 7, for sample registration certificate).

The fee due to the jockey who will be riding your horse in a race must be on account with the track’s Paymaster of Purses before your horse can start.

No horse can be entered in more than one race per day (sweepstakes races included).

Though rules vary from track to track, no matter how many partners (or syndicate members) have a share in a given horse, it may be that only six entry credentials, or horsemen’s passes, will be issued to that horse’s owner.

Note: If there are numerous owners, the Clerk of Course will usually ask the trainer to specify which owners are to receive a credential. Also, some tracks will issue parking passes and license validation stickers to all the horse’s owners, no matter how many there are).

The Stewards have the right to withdraw or scratch any horse (at any point before the start of the race) which they deem “not qualified” for the race in which it has been entered.

In any race, the Stewards or the CHRB can order a purse, award or prize withheld from distribution (indefinitely) pending the determination of a protest of any kind. If any purse, award or prize has already been distributed to an owner for a horse which is later disqualified, the Stewards or the CHRB may order that the money be returned and re-distributed to the rightful owner of the “winning” racehorse.

Your trainer can enter the horse of another owner he or she trains for in the same sweepstakes or handicap that your horse is entered in, unless you pre-contract with the trainer not to pursue this practice.

An owner or trainer who has a horse (or horses) stabled on the grounds of a track with a current race meet can be granted check-cashing privileges, provided proper paperwork is filled out (and verified by your bank), and provided you can present a valid CHRB license.

All owners must have an I.R.S. “W-9” form on file with the Paymaster of Purses before their horses can compete. No winnings can be released by the Paymaster without a “W-9.” The I.R.S. also requires that a “Form 8300” be filed whenever cash deposits of over $10,000 are made into an account (i.e., when preparing to claim a horse). Two forms of identification will be required to complete this transaction.

The I.R.S. will withhold 28% of your winnings as a bettor on gross collections of more than $5,000 – and on any bet where the pay-off was a 300-1 or greater (this usually involves “exotic wagers”). You cannot receive the withheld 28% until you have filed that year’s income tax returns.

If you are an owner, you can (for purposes of personal income tax) write off the cost of all losing bets on a horse you own against your total of winning wagers on that horse. (Caution: wagering write-offs may not be used to establish your racehorse as a “loss” for that year).

Trainers and owners will sometimes enter pregnant fillies and mares in a race. Not only is this legal, but some racetrackers believe that female horses actually run better when in foal. If a mare or filly listed in a given race IS In foal, there will be a notation to that effect (citing her post number) at the bottom of that page in the Official Program.

The death of any registered thoroughbred must be reported to the Jockey Club within 30 days; the gelding or spaying of a horse involved in an active meet must be reported to that meet’s Racing Office immediately.

No person licensed by the CHRB as a jockey, apprentice jockey, racing official, assistant starter or veterinarian’s assistant can be licensed as an owner.

At some time in their career, as many as 70-80% of all racehorses will exhibit signs of “bleeding” (the formal term for which is Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage or EIPH). Although there are many theories, there is as yet NO identified, proven cause explaining this condition.

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