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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

RUS Rules and Obstacles

For those who are interested in racing under saddle, the USTA has posted the rulebook insert which highlights the rules changes approved at the recent USTA meeting; the majority concerning RUS but it includes other approved changes.  These rules become effective on May 1, 2015.

Of course, most states have their own set of rules so the USTA approving these changes are merely a guideline to help state commissions to also adopt these rule changes.  In the case of RUS, it will require the support of horsemen and track operators and in some instances may require legislative changes, depending how their parimutuel laws were adopted.  In some states, there may be a need to overcome objections by local HBPA who may fear RUS is too similar to thoroughbred racing.

One place we shouldn't expect to see RUS anytime soon, at least until it turns out to be successful elsewhere, is Pennsylvania.  At  the annual meeting a representative from the Quaker state made it clear that they have no intention to take the steps necessary to get RUS approved.  Of course, if successful, there is a good chance they will change their tune.

For sure, there are other areas where individuals are reluctant to support RUS.  Their reasons may be varied, but make no mistake, some reject the idea of RUS because it is different and harness racing fears making changes,  They don't see harness racing, from the gamblers' perspective is a stale product.  RUS not only is a change in the product, but a way to gain additional betting interests without resorting to a second tier.   They are like deer in a headlight.  Frozen to inaction while the world goes by.  In the meanwhile harness racing continues to lose ground.

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