CHRB’s Chief Vet Has License Suspended; Board Says, No Problem!

Last year, we were featured in an ESPN online piece “Racing on the Edge.” After it came out, I took the network to task for what I saw as the piece’s many shortcomings. Part of my issue centered on the “other side’s” protagonist, veterinarian Jeff Blea. At the time, Mr. Blea was but a track vet; he was subsequently elevated to the lofty position of equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board. Here is some of what the jockey-turned-vet Blea had to say:

“Everyone [vet, owners, trainers] is doing the same thing…what’s good for the horse.”

“Animal welfare is critically important to people…so with that cluster [at Santa Anita in 2019, which, of course, was no cluster at all] of injuries we had last year, I think it created those reforms such as medication reform, veterinary oversight, more involvement on a day to day basis.”

And: “But we can get close to [zero kills]. Every year, we can get closer to it, and a little closer the following year, and a little closer the following year. And if we keep doing that, that’s a good thing.”

Of course, Dr. Blea was, to put it kindly, being crafty: The horseracing industry is desperately engaged in self-preservation; “what’s good for the horse” is but a stratagem in the service thereof. Getting “close to zero kills” is impossible, and Blea and every one of his colleagues know it. In fact, the killing is not changing (“getting closer to zero”) at all; for proof, see our yearly lists. In short, Blea, his medical bona fides notwithstanding, simply played the part of industry mouthpiece, and anyone who does that is no friend to horses.

With that as backdrop, consider this: Monday, Dr. Blea had his vet license temporarily suspended by California’s Veterinary Medical Board. This comes after “accusation” (charging) documents were filed against Blea and two other vets just before Christmas. Here are some excerpts from the Board’s current petition:

“The records show Respondent Blea administered the same drugs for multiple horses with the same trainer consecutively at approximately the same time. Respondent Blea provided drugs to a large number of horses not based on a documented examination, diagnosis or medical necessity, but instead based on what the trainer requests.” (The Paulick Report says “that in a two-month span, Blea administered medications to 3,225 horses in 67 working days, for an average of 48 horses per day.”)

“The Board alleges that Respondent Blea administered medically unnecessary and non-FDA approved drugs to numerous racehorses. The Board’s findings and allegations established that racehorses are administered legal and illegal drugs to enhance performance in racing. Racing is not a medical condition or diagnosis. If Respondent Blea is allowed to continue his role in enforcement and investigations, his involvement alone will raise questions and will compromise the integrity of the drug testing program, the investigations, their findings, and their results due to the unquestionable conflict of interest.

“Veterinarians are prohibited from possessing or using any drug, substance, or medication that has not been approved by the FDA on the premises of a facility under the jurisdiction of CHRB. As an experienced veterinarian who has treated racehorses for over a decade, Respondent Blea should know and understand this regulation. Yet, on December 15, 2021, Respondent Blea announced that CHRB will begin a strict regulation of thyroxine, a thyroid medication, on January 1, 2022. Thyroxine…is not approved by the FDA, can cause cardiac arrhythmias, and squarely falls under the category of drugs prohibited by section 1867. Respondent Blea’s approval of prohibited veterinary practices proves that he cannot be trusted to be involved in any medication violation or death investigations.”

But here’s where it gets fun. The CHRB actually plans to keep the stripped-of-his-license Blea in his current position, which again is as the top racing vet in the state. At this juncture, is there anything more this vile industry can do to shock? On another note, how about a follow-up on your fallen star, ESPN? Not holding my breath.

36 Comments

  1. I’m sorry I want to scream and go ballistic you know like a United States postal carrier hahaha because this is a story of all the reasons why these filthy scumbag people are just worthless pieces of s***!

  2. This man is a disgrace to true veterinarians who truly have an animals welfare at heart & he should never be allowed to go near an animal ever again yes there are always unscrupulous people like him out there who’d jump into his shoes the owners & riders of these poor horses are every bit to blame as well, the only interest of any of them is to make as much money from these horses it’s shameful that mankind is a non caring greedy mother fucker (excuse the bluntness of my words) who cares for no one not even their granny…..These poor horses only get ridden till their broken & have made them mega bucks they can’t even allow these poor horses (the ones that survive that is) to retire to green pastures NO WHERE IS THE MONEY IN THAT then have them killed for horse meat to be served on some other stupid pigs plate WHEN IS THIS WORLD GOING TO CHANGE FOR THE BETTER!!!! Is it too much to ask or expect to be respectful & nice to all living creatures…..I would gladly welcome any of these stupid people to contact me!!

  3. Thanks for posting Patrick. Some additional information. Not only are there serious drug allegations but also failures to keep records (hiding the drugs). Wont be surprised if there are criminal charges. 3 trainers were named, though the vet board has no authority over them – Carla Gaines, Doug O’Neil, and no surprise Bob Baffert. Horses only with initials. The anonymous sources who turned it in are likely other trainers.
    Of the 3 vets, only Blea’s license was suspended prior to a hearing because of his promotion to CHRB vet director. Pretty obvious conflict he now oversees necropsies for horses he killed. The Medina Spirit necropsey is in part driving it
    What may be different is the state Attorney General entered the picture and sought the immediate suspension. Prior Attorneys General, including one Kamala Harris, were content to take the campaign money and look the other way. If this means a shift in the California Democratic Party’s view, that is a battle with the Governor the CHRB will lose
    Later this month there is a private hearing, then a public one for future decisions

    • Thanks for your feed back I just feel so angry that there’s not much more I can do but voice my opinion we are the only ones who can shout loud for these horses in the hope that true change & equality can be given back to these beautiful gentle animals that horrible disgusting scum of the earth Blea should be made to serve time & others like him that took an oath to protect all animals under his care…He/they should be struck off & lose their licence to
      care or come any where near another animal so long as they live & be named & shamed also…

      • The whole corrupt organization that exists to exploit horses for money as gambling chips needs to be shut down AND then some!

        • Totally agree with you there but somehow doubt very much that, that would ever happen

          • Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. This site is about ending horseracing and it must be supported with faith as well as the other things like spreading factual information, money and protesting and so forth. It does seem like an insurmountable objective, challenge, goal. I understand that. We can’t let these filthy, lying horse-killers win!

    • Why am I not surprised.
      The mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf actually said, if the law is not in agreement with one’s values then the law should be ignored!
      So I guess the CHRB and this mayor are on the same page , essentially!!!
      Selective law enforcement and a disregard of ethics is a slippery slope and, of course, animal abuse is a gateway crime.

  4. This old man has neurological damage. One of his eyes is not focusing properly. Sickos selling health. How can anybody who is like that can know anything about health?

    • That’s neither fair nor accurate, and should be retracted. I’ve got a lot of problems with Blea’s medical ethics and loyalties to racing, but would never suggest his physical issues compromise his mental abilities for the job.

      • Right, Kelly. Blea is very capable of being a two-faced hypocrite! He is a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue. He is a person who acts in contradiction to his stated beliefs or feelings. He is an EVIL person that deliberately does harm to the horses.
        Why else would he have been hired by the California Horse Racing Board?

        • They hired him because he was hooked on horse racing before he became a licensed veterinarian. (Let’s face it; it’s hard to keep medical professionals around who are consistently forced to deny and defy their own professional and moral principles, oaths, educations and experience just to keep their creepy-cruel jobs.) Most of them can’t get away from the track fast enough.

    • Lol, Rebecca. Medical students must take the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm.
      But, you’re right about the fact that he is a hypocrite.

  5. Beyond unconscionable, depravedly cruel — talk about CORRUPTION — Horses continue to suffer and die — racing supporters continue to PARTY — beyond hateful and immoral.

    • Speaking of the partying, I read about Bob Baffert partying for a week after MEDINA SPIRIT crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby.

    • I think it would be great if each and every one of the members of the California Horse Racing Board were photographed as mug shots (because they are criminals) and post them on billboards all over California!

  6. This needs to be brought up on fox news. I am not saying this for political reasons as it is a bipartisan issue for animal welfare; but it seems they are the only channel that is bringing up animal abuse and the corruption in California. I wish horse racing wrongs would interview with Tucker Carlson as he has issues like this on his show all the time. It really cries for more media pressure.

      • At least within California, the most important news outlet is the LA Times, which covered it yesterday. They led with the creep (my words) was removed by the CHRB in the investigation regarding Medina Spirit as an attempt to save his license and prevent further scrutiny. He is actually on the faculty of UC – Davis and on loan to the CHRB. Perhaps the reporter may already be doing a follow up as we speak, and likely would be covering the upcoming hearing

        • James, am I correct in assuming that when the news reporter writes that Jeff Blea is actually on the faculty of UC — Davis that he is in charge of, or has some other kind involvement with, the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine necropsies for the dead racehorses from all of the California racetracks?

          • He is not a faculty member. He is hired by the CHRB as their medical director and part of his job is to act as the liaison between the CHRB and the vet school. He is not employed by the university but he has significant input into the drug testing program, necropsies, etc.

    • And congresswoman, Nancy Mace, was on Fox about a bill she is working on to end extremely cruel “research” on dogs and monkeys funded by the NIH. She sent a letter to Dr. Fauci concerning the research but had no response!
      To my knowledge, no other news outlet has reported on this.

      • Considering Fauci oversaw research where beagle puppies had their vocal cords cut (to stop their “incessant whining”) and then were strapped down and had their heads enclosed in mesh cages full of starving sandflies, it’s not surprising there wasn’t a response to further animal cruelty.
        There was never a clear reason given as to why this torture was done, but it is public knowledge and Fauci is still in charge of that facility.
        Think about it: this is the person dictating what medical treatment Americans are to engage in.

    • That would be so awesome. The Fox show “The Five” has anchors who are animal lovers as well and maybe would be open for a discussion on our issues.

  7. Strange to see everyone in California racing taking this up as some sort of political attack, or “witch hunt” or “well orchestrated conspiracy” or “smear campaign” on Blea’s character. They can’t seem to accept that he was just really, really shitty at record-keeping, and had a strict allegiance to the smarmy racing biz at the expense of animal welfare — especially when it came to “prescribing” all manner of narcotics and approved-or-not meds to his non-consenting (and unseen) patients at the behest of their despicable so-called trainers.
    In other words, he’s the perfect racehorse vet!

  8. Any track vet that does right by the horse will not last in racing.
    Vets in this business view the horse as a commodity to be exploited even unto death just like the rest of racing.
    An MD guilty of such malpractice would have their license revoked.
    Why should it be any different for a vet.?
    It should be based on the act of betraying their professions and breaking the law, not on whether they harm horse or a human.
    And it is not surprising the CHRB is keeping Blea as their equine medical director, licensed or not!!!!
    He is one of them, after all!
    The common denominator in this game is the end justifies the means.

  9. Any track vet that does right by the horse will not last in racing.
    Vets in this business view the horse as a commodity to be exploited even unto death just like the rest of racing.
    An MD guilty of such malpractice would have their license revoked.
    Why should it be any different for a vet.?
    It should be based on the act of betraying their professions and breaking the law, not on whether they harm horse or a human.
    And it is not surprising the CHRB is keeping Blea as their equine medical director, licensed or not!!!!
    He is one of them, after all!
    The common denominator in this game is the end justifies the means.

  10. This is what fuels my burning hatred of these people. My whole life has been about saving animals and giving to only ANIMAL causes. What these people in racing don’t get is the fact people wouldn’t get sad and upset if they (people involved in this evil) were killed the way these horses are getting killed. Let’s get real …..people ❤️ANIMALS. Who would cry their head off if one of the people in this business died? Just sayin.

    • The stuff written about Jeff Blea in the Paulick Report dated February 8, 2021 make it sound as though he is some kind of gift from heaven. The horses are beautiful but the racing is ugly.
      The people in horse racing have morally depraved minds and are experts at talking out both sides of their mouths.
      The following quote is from the Paulick Report article ‘Dr. Jeff Blea Named California’s New Equine Medical Director’ by Press Release; 02/08/2021:
      “As Equine Medical Director,” he said, “I look forward to working with industry stakeholders in further advancing the progressive transformation of horse racing in California with the emphasis on horse safety, welfare, and integrity.”
      (Wow, that was tough to copy that word for word without freaking exploding!)

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