It has been announced that the conditions for Hambletonian #93 will be restricted to foals that have been sired by a five year old stallion or older unless the the stallion was retired due to unsoundness. This brings the Hambletonian in line with Jeff Gural's vision of having harness racings' stars racing at the age of four. This is the good news. Unfortunately, Hambletonian #93 will not be raced until 2018 which means for purposes of the Hambletonian, trotting horses may retire at the age of three through the year of 2014 and have their offspring eligible to the Hambletonian the first year of stud duty.
Some may think here's another case of harness racing moving slowly, and while it appears so, it really is a timely change. The delay in the rule change protects those owners who already have or will purchase yearlings this year and also protect breeders investment's in those yearlings being sold this year. Hence, the delay is reasonable as it protects the interests of those who have already spent significant amounts of funds on their investment.
The Hambletonian is also considering instituting a race for four year olds called the Hambletonian Maturity. Implementation of such a race would help present racing opportunities for four year olds.
Slowly but surely, the racing industry is coming on board. It is time for other tracks to join the movement.