In a puzzling move, a Federal Jury has ruled the AQHA should register cloned quarter horses to their registry, in theory meaning clones of horses will be able to race in wagering events. The jury found the AQHA violated the Sherman Antitrust Act as well as Texas' own anti-trust rules by not registering the clones.
The Plaintiff argued that the AQHA is operated by individuals who breed and race horses and by not allowing the clones to be registered they are in effect engaging in a restraint of trade. The AQHA argued the plaintiffs were aware of the rules before they got into the business of cloning horses so it shouldn't be considered a restraint of trade.
If allowed to stand, does this ruling present a problem for all breed registries? The USTA does not specifically mention cloned horses in their rules at present but even the requirement to be registered as non-standard requires proof the sire is a registered horse of some breed which implies a clone can't be registered. The Jockey Club still requires natural cover of mares Down the road the breeding industry would have to transition into nurseries for clones meaning as there will be little money in standing stallions.
Now, realistically you are not about to see a race with
ten Somebeachsomewhere clones anytime soon as the cost of cloning (around $150,000) is prohibitive and there are still some issues with the clones (though cloned mules are presently allowed to race in mule racing).. But as the science of cloning continues to evolve, harness racing will change after some initial resistance. After all, the progression in standardbred breeding has been from natural cover to artificial insemination to semen transport and now where it makes sense, embryo transfer. Make no mistake, traditional breeding will still continue but the incentive to invest in a stallion will likely diminish. However, the shortage of race horses could be addressed through cloning as you could have any mare become the surrogate.
Gary Siebel returns to racing. Gary Siebel, formerly of TVG will be the new track announcer at Cal Expo, a great catch for the California track. In addition to calling the races, Siebel will be taking on a similar role on simulcasts as Darin Zoccali does at the Meadowlands, making their simulcast product even more desirable. Welcome back Gary.