Some regulatory news of note this past week...
First in California, the CHRB has decreed California Horsemen will need to follow the same rules regarding whipping as in many states, including the inability of whipping more than three times in a row without giving a horse a chance to respond. For the complete rule proposal, you may open this file and go to page 304. Of course, as in other states, a rule is only as good as the judges officiating so it remains to be seen what will happen once racing resumes at Cal Expo
Also in the Golden State, and this one may be more painful to trainers as the rule changes pertain to medication violations. For one thing, the rule now uses a twelve month rolling calendar for determining penalties. A trainer who ten months ago had a lower medication violation and has been tagged once again for a more serious violation will have the earlier penalty considered as an aggravating circumstance in determining punishment. If a trainer gets a lower grade violation than another one within the twelve month period will have the higher penalty count just as another occurrence of the lower grade violation when determining penalties.
The big difference comes with the transferring of a horse from a stable where the trainer is assessed more than a thirty day suspension. In this case, a horse will not be able to be transferred to an employee of the trainer as anyone who was employed by a trainer within the past twelve months will be unacceptable as the new trainer.
On the other coast, the NJRC has published for public comment a rule which will change the way claiming races work.
The rule allows for an exemption from claiming when a standardbred (a thoroughbred version of the rule is also being proposed) last race was a claiming event and has been off at least 180 days. As long as the horse is entered into a claiming race with the same or greater price tag as the last race, it will be exempt from claiming provided the owner of the horse files a request for exemption. A horse dropping in for a lower tag will be ineligible for the claiming exemption. A horse who returns in a conditioned race will not be able to claim the exemption if then dropped into a claiming race.
The purpose of this exemption is to encourage owners to allow a horse to fully recover from an injury instead of racing the horse prematurely. The thinking is an owner may be less willing to allow a horse to fully recover if it has the potential of being claimed away in the first race back; thus not giving the owner a chance to recover the expenses of rehabilitation. Hopefully, with the claiming exemption, an owner will have a better chance of recouping rehab costs, thus willing to provide such treatment. The exemption goes with the horse, so it doesn't matter if the horse was claimed in the previous start or if it has a new owner since the last start.
The rule change also clarifies the allowable instances for a claim to be voided. The instances which help protect animal welfare is when a claimed horse dies during the race or, at the direction of the State Veterinarian, has to be euthanized; the philosophy being since the horse races for the old owner, the title shouldn't pass to the new owner until the race is completed. Also if a horse is vanned off and the claimant notifies the Judges, they have one hour to decide whether or not to void the claim (though they must make the decision without having physical contact with the horse).
What is Wrong with this picture?
This was a six horse entry in the first race at Tioga Downs yesterday. How can any racetrack put a race like this on their wagering card? It's an insult to the racing public. This Geers event should have been carded prior to the day's racing card or there should have been a condition requiring so many wagering interests before the race would have been carded and the race cancelled with the fees refunded to eligible horses.
For the record, the winning entry went of at 2-5, with the #2 being 8-5 and the #3 off at 6-1.
Hopefully this will be fixed so it will never happen again.