California Horse Racing Board elects vet as new chairman

DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) — The California Horse Racing Board has chosen a longtime veterinarian as its new chairman.

Gregory Ferraro was elected Thursday during the board’s meeting at Del Mar racetrack north of San Diego. He was appointed to the governing body five months ago by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Ferraro noted the board has a mandate from Newsom’s office to focus on the health and safety of horses in the wake of 37 horse deaths at Santa Anita since last December.

“We have made several important new regulations and changes. There are many more to come,” Ferraro said. “We will gradually eliminate medication. We expect opposition to many of these, but we are determined to carry them out.”

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Ferraro served as director of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Center for Equine Health from 1997 to 2014. He owned his veterinary practice from 1972 to 1997. He earned a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from UC Davis and is a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Ferraro of San Francisco succeeds Chuck Winner, who ended his tenure as board chairman in October.

Oscar Gonzales was elected as vice chairman, succeeding Madeline Auerbach, who retired earlier this month.