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Monday, October 7, 2013

A Reader Asks the USTA

One reader of VFTRG decided to write a letter to the USTA regarding this weekend's high-profile booting incident involving Captaintreacherous and  Vegas Vacation in the Tatersalls Pace.  Specifically, he writes:



Good day;

In light of recent publicity on social media regarding “booting” of horses – specifically during the Tatersalls stretch drive last Saturday involving Captaintreacherous and Vegas Vacation – I would like to ask if the USTA has a specific position regarding “booting”. I find it discouraging and disappointing to say the least that the Red Mile judge has determined that “Personally kicking does not bother me unless they are swinging their foot” and determined that this “booting” of a horse’s hock or stifle is allowable – even though there is clearly a rule that prohibits the act. Since when is a judge empowered to interpret and enforce rules as he “personally” sees fit? This is outrageous. Clearly both drivers coming down the stretch of The Tatersalls had one foot out of the stirrup and were making contact with their horses’ legs. On the slo-mo in-house replay of the stretch drive it is VERY clear that the winning driver makes contact with his horse’s leg at least 7 times with a downward motion of his foot. The judge has apparently decided that his role is not to enforce the existing rule that is in place, but rather make a decision regarding how he “personally” feels it should be seen. I imagine this is the same individual that DQ’ed Odds On Equluus last year for…..?.....I’m still waiting for a reasonable, intelligent explanation for that disqualification. So I ask again: does the USTA have a position on this specific rule and enforcement? It seems the drivers are taking more liberty with this as nothing as done. What prevents a driver from “booting” his horse from start to finish at this point? Who is going to take the lead on this issue?


Good question indeed.  It will be interesting to see if the USTA gives a response other than the typical, USTA rules are guidelines and it is up to the individual states to interpret the rules as they see fit.  The sad part of this is this is the correct answer.  There is no national regulatory agency established to set up and enforce the rules.  Truth is the letter should have gone to the KHRC.

We will let you know if something comes of this letter.