Code Section Group

Business and Professions Code - BPC


  ( Division 8 added by Stats. 1941, Ch. 44. )

CHAPTER 4. Horse Racing [19400 - 19668]

  ( Chapter 4 repealed and added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 1828. )

ARTICLE 5. Stewards and Racing Officials [19510 - 19518]
  ( Article 5 repealed and added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 871, Sec. 8. )


(a) Every steward and racing official not required to be licensed under Article 4 (commencing with Section 19480) shall be licensed by the board pursuant to this article. Any license issued pursuant to this article shall include a current photograph of the licensed person.

(b) No person required to be licensed pursuant to this article may participate in any capacity in any horse race meeting without a valid and unrevoked license. The board shall determine the fixed license fee which shall be paid in order to receive a license pursuant to this article.

(c) As used in this section, “racing official” means the starter, timer, paddock judge, horseshoe inspector, horse identifier, official veterinarian, racing veterinarian, associate judge, placing judge, patrol judge, clerk of scales, clerk of the course, and any other person acting as an official at any horse racing meeting.

(Amended (as amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 650) by Stats. 2010, Ch. 53, Sec. 1. (AB 1152) Effective July 9, 2010. Operative January 1, 2011, pursuant to effective date of Stats. 2009, Ch. 650.)


(a) The board shall require applicants for license as a steward or as an official veterinarian to pass both a written and an oral examination.

(b) The board may admit to the steward examination any person who meets all of the following qualifications:

(1) Has not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or of a felony.

(2) Has been given a physical examination by a licensed physician and surgeon within 60 days prior to the date of application for the steward’s examination, indicating at least 20-20 vision or vision corrected to at least 20-20, and normal hearing ability.

(3) Possesses at least one of the following qualifications:

(A) Has at least five years of experience in the parimutuel horse racing industry as a licensed trainer, jockey, or driver.

(B) Has at least 10 years of experience in the California parimutuel horse racing industry as a licensed owner whose experience, knowledge, ability, and integrity relative to the industry are known to the board.

(C) Has at least three years of experience as a licensed racing official, racing secretary, assistant racing secretary, or director of racing.

(D) Has experience in the horse racing industry of a character and for a length of time sufficient, as determined by the board, to qualify the person as having experience substantially equivalent to the experience described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C).

(c) The board may admit to the official veterinarian examination any person who meets all of the following qualifications:

(1) Is currently licensed to practice veterinary medicine in this state.

(2) Is currently in good standing with the California Veterinary Medical Board.

(3) Has current veterinary malpractice insurance.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2008.)


(a) The board shall prepare both written and oral examinations. All examinations shall be standardized and, in the case of oral examinations, tape recorded. Written examinations may be administered by members of the board staff. Oral examinations for stewards shall be conducted by a panel of not less than three board members. Oral examinations for official veterinarians shall be conducted by a panel of not less than one board member, the equine medical director, and the executive director.

(b) The board shall provide a detailed outline of the subjects to be covered by the oral and written examinations for a license to every person who requests the outline.

(c) The results of the oral and written examinations for a steward’s license shall be a public record.

(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 650, Sec. 2. (AB 1575) Effective January 1, 2011.)


Racing officials shall be licensed by the board pursuant to rules and regulations that the board may adopt, and upon payment of a license fee fixed and determined by the board.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 871, Sec. 8.)


An original license issued under this article shall be issued for a period of the calendar year in which it is issued, and shall be renewable for a period, not to exceed three years, which the board may, by regulation, establish. The board may establish a license fee schedule consistent with the different period for which these licenses may be granted.

The license shall be valid at all horse racing meetings in this state during the period for which it is issued, unless it is suspended or revoked prior to the expiration of the period.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 1082, Sec. 44. Effective January 1, 2001.)


The board may, at any time, require the removal of any racing official or employee in any case where it has reason to believe that the official or employee has been guilty of any dishonest practice in connection with horse racing, has failed to comply with any condition of the licensee’s license, or has violated any law or any rule or regulation of the board.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 1082, Sec. 45. Effective January 1, 2001.)


(a) The board, upon due consideration, may overrule any steward’s decision other than a decision to disqualify a horse due to a foul or a riding or a driving infraction in a race, if a preponderance of the evidence indicates any of the following:

(1) The steward mistakenly interpreted the law.

(2) New evidence of a convincing nature is produced.

(3) The best interests of racing and the state may be better served.

(b) However, any decision pertaining to the finish of a race, as used for purposes of parimutuel fund distribution to winning ticketholders, may not be overruled. Furthermore, any decision pertaining to the distribution of purses may be changed only if a claim is made in writing to the board by one of the involved owners or trainers, and a preponderance of the evidence clearly indicates to the board that one or more of the grounds for protest, as outlined in regulations adopted by the board, has been substantiated. The chairperson of the board may issue a stay of execution pending appeal from a steward’s decision if the facts justify the action.

(Amended by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1052, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1995.)


(a) The respondent in an enforcement proceeding that alleges the use of a prohibited substance, as defined under class I, class II, or class III of the board’s schedule of prohibited substances, may elect to have the proceeding referred, for administrative adjudication and preparation of a proposed decision for action by the board, to either a Board of Stewards or a hearing officer appointed by the board. The board shall select the hearing officer from a pool jointly developed by a representative from each of the following organizations:

(1) The board.

(2) A racing association.

(3) The trainers’ organization.

(4) The horse owners’ organization.

(b) The hearing before a duly appointed hearing officer or Board of Stewards shall commence no later than 90 days after the filing of the accusation. The hearing date may be extended only upon a showing of good cause to the earliest possible hearing date beyond the 90-day period, provided a written order and the reasons for the continuance are filed with the board.

(c) No later than 20 days before the hearing, the licensee shall post a bond with the paymaster of purses for the amount of the purse or purses in question and received by the licensee. The bond shall be in cash, or a surety bond that meets the requirements of the board.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 417, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2008.)


(a) (1) The board shall contract with persons licensed as stewards pursuant to this article to perform the duties of stewards at horse racing meets. The board shall also contract with licensed veterinarians pursuant to this article to perform the duties of official veterinarians at horse racing meets. Contracts shall be upon any terms that the board, the stewards, and the official veterinarians may mutually agree upon and may contain different rates of compensation based upon the experience of the steward or official veterinarian.

(2) The board shall establish a committee of at least two board members to meet at least quarterly with representatives of the stewards, so that recommendations of the stewards can be discussed as necessary. These meetings may be scheduled the same day as regular board meetings or at the convenience of the board. Representatives of associations may attend and participate in these meetings, or portions thereof, when items directly affecting the associations are discussed.

(3) The board shall provide remuneration, including any fringe benefits, to stewards, to the official veterinarian, and for the costs of laboratory testing relating to horse racing.

(b) Stewards, official veterinarians, and other racing officials appointed or approved by the board, and while performing duties required by this chapter or by the board, shall be entitled to the same rights and immunities granted public employees by Article 3 (commencing with Section 820) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code.

(c) The Legislature finds and declares that the services performed by stewards and official veterinarians at horse racing meetings are unique and cannot be performed adequately, competently, or satisfactorily by civil service personnel, and that the services cannot be adequately rendered by an existing public agency and do not duplicate the function of an existing public agency. Stewards and official veterinarians shall be personal service contractors of the board and shall not be civil service employees.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 400, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2007.)

BPCBusiness and Professions Code - BPC5.