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USTA Board to consider 10 rule change proposals
Monday, October 20, 2008 - by John Pawlak, the U.S. Trotting Association

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association membership and Board of Directors will consider the following 10 proposals to change USTA rules and regulations, which will be acted upon at the Board's annual meeting, Feb. 3 through 6, 2009:
 
1. A proposal to amend Rule 9, Sec 6 (a) by amending the rule to read as follows:
“Beneficial Owners to be listed in Application. Each application for the issuance of electronic eligibility shall list the names of all ‘beneficial owners’ of the horse. The term ‘beneficial owners’ as used herein includes: (1) the owner and, in the case of multiple ownership, all co-owners, (2) all shareholders owning .01% or more of any class of stock and all officers and directors of any corporation which is a ‘beneficial owner,’ (3) all partners of a general partnership and in the case of limited partnership, all general partners and those limited partners owning a .01% or more interest in such limited partnership which is a ‘beneficial owner,’ (4) all lessees of such horse, and (5) all ‘corresponding officers.’”
     Source: William Bohnenberger, White Plains, N.Y.
 
2. A proposal to amend Rule 14, Section 5 (a)(3) relative to the “Preference Rule” to provide for uniformity in selecting starters in a race when horses have an equal preference date.
     Source: Jeffrey R. Pocaro, Fanwood, N.J.
 
3. A proposal to amend Rule 16, Section 1 (k) regarding the “Recall Rule” to provide for a recall for a breaking horse or a refund of any money bet on the breaking horse.
     Source: Ken Rumble, Stafford, N.Y.
 
4. A proposal to amend Rule 16, Section 1(k) regarding the “Recall Rule” by only having a recall of a horse coming to the gate in the wrong position.
     Source: Larry Alterman, Sheridan, Cal.
 
5. A proposal to amend Rule 17, Section 4 by adding a new subsection to read as follows:
“Drivers who are absent from driving in extended pari-mutuel or county fair races for between 6 months and one year must have a minimum of 4 satisfactory qualifying drives before being permitted to drive in any subsequent extended pari-mutuel race. Drivers who are absent from driving in extended pari-mutuel or county fair races for more than one year must have a minimum of 8 satisfactory qualifying drives before being permitted to drive in any subsequent extended pari-mutuel race.”
     Source: Jeff Dye, Flushing, Mich.
 
6. A proposal to amend Rule 18, Section (9) to require drivers to keep a line in each hand during the race:
“Drivers shall keep a line in each hand from the start of the race until after the finish of the race.”
     Source: The Hambletonian Society, Inc.
 
7. A proposal to amend Rule 18, Section (9) relative to whip and whipping by changing the wording in the first two paragraphs to read as follows:
“Drivers will be allowed whips not to exceed 4 feet. The use of snappers is not permitted. Drivers must keep a line in each handhold at all times during the race and have control of their horse at all times during the race.
Provided further that the following actions shall be considered indiscriminate use of the whip:
(a)  Any blatant or exaggerated movements of the whipping arm which may result from raising the elbow above the driver’s shoulder height and/or allowing the hand holding the whip to reach behind the driver during the use of the whip.
(b) The use of the whip other than the area inside and above the level of the shafts of the sulky and between the sulky shafts.
(c) Causing visible injury to the horse.
(d) Whipping a horse after the finish of the race.
(e) Whipping under the arch or shafts of the sulky or use of the whip as a goading device or placing the whip between the legs of the horse.
(f) The horse does not appear to be advancing through the field of horses.
(g) The use of a whip in matinee races, qualifying races, exhibition races and county fair racing unless permitted by the racing commission.
     Source: USTA Staff
 
8. A proposal to amend Rule 21, Section 2 to require that in the event a trainer receives a positive test finding that the penalty will be as follows: First Positive Test Finding – One Year Suspension; Second Positive Test Finding – Five Years Suspension; Third Positive Test Finding – Ten Years or More Suspension. Penalty to be assessed against all horses being trained by that trainer or stable.
     Source: Jacob R. Ramsburg, Thurmont, Md.
 
9. Amend Rule 24, Section 1 to change the timing of races from “fifths of seconds” to “one hundredths of a second.”
     Source: Eric Cherry, Delray Beach, Fla.
 
10. Adopt a rule relative to one universal license and fingerprints. To have one universal owner’s license and one set of fingerprints that would be honored in all states in which you race your horses.
     Source: Thomas Dillon, Anson, Maine