Weather may determine Santa Anita racing days for upcoming winter meet

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Santa Anita Park racetrack has received a green light from the state to begin its winter-spring meet Dec. 26 under the condition that the track be shut down in the event of inclement weather.

The California Horse Racing Board conditionally approved the venue’s license Thursday without answers to key questions, such as what exactly constitutes “inclement weather” and who will make the call.

Those answers will be presented by The Stronach Group, Santa Anita’s owners, at the CHRB’s next meeting on Dec. 12 at Los Alamitos racetrack. At that time, if the board members aren’t happy with the process, they’ll be able to retract their approval.

“If these procedures and protocols are put into place and enforced, the governor has no reason not to allow racing to continue,” said Gregory Ferraro, new chairman of the CHRB .

Ferraro, a former racetrack veterinarian who was appointed to the board by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this year, pledged the state board would be pursuing stricter regulations than it has in the past.

“The days of permissive medication are over,” he said. “We will gradually eliminate medications and keep them away from racing dates and training. We expect opposition, but we’re determined to carry this out in the best interest of horses and jockeys.”

Since last December, 37 horses have died while racing or training at Santa Anita. Initially, those deaths were believed to have …