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San Diego Democratic Party pushes to ban state-sponsored horse racing

Del Mar horse racing
Posted at 4:28 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 20:59:48-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The San Diego Democratic Party is calling to ban gambling on state-sponsored horse races in California. The group said they have both a moral and financial obligation to phase it out.

Gamblers have been placing bets on their favorite thoroughbred at Del Mar since 1937.

"It was created almost a hundred years ago to help the state generate revenue," Lori Saldaña, member of the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee, said.

But on Tuesday night, the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee passed a resolution 37-4 to repeal the legalization of gambling on horse races in the California constitution.

"We are not banning horse racing," Saldaña clarified. "We are simply removing it from the state constitution."

Article 4, Section 19 (b) states:
"The legislature may provide for the regulation of horse races and horse race meetings and wagering on the results."

But Saldaña said times have changed.

"When we look at changes in attitudes towards is types of animals sports, we don't do dogfighting," Saldaña said. "We don't do cockfighting. We don't do bullfighting."

Plus, instead of horse racing, there is now a push to legalize college and professional sports betting in California. This is projected to bring in $4 Billion a month, more than what horse racing brings in a year.

"If we are going to have state horse racing commission and state fairgrounds like Del Mar that subsidize this horse racing, and we end up having a cash flow problem as a result," Saldaña said. "We need to address that from a financial and economic standpoint."

She said this does not mean that the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club must cease operations.

"If they want to build their own facilities, separate from state facilities, and if they want to generate their own revenues and they can cover their expenses, they are free and able to do so," Saldaña said.

This issue can be placed on the ballot as soon as next year.

We reached out to both the Del Mar Fairgrounds and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for comment on this story. They did not reply to our multiple requests.