Lewes, DE --- The United States Trotting Association District 11 annual meeting took place Friday evening at the 1776 Steakhouse in Lewes, Delaware where the board members discussed 11 proposed USTA rule and bylaw changes for 2012 and approved five of them.
District 11 chairman James Boese, the Chief Operating Officer of Racing at Harrington Raceway, Charles E. Keller, III, Russell McKinnon and Dr. William F. Moffett voted in favor of five of the changes, but rejected the other six. They also approved one of the changes with a minor rewording of the submitted bylaw change.
"All in all, the ones we passed should help," Boese said. "Some of the changes needed to be made. The other submissions were good, but probably didn't need to be changed. We're hoping the ones we changed we'll make things better here and [in Delaware] and nationwide."
Listed below is a glimpse at the proposed rule and bylaw changes that were passed by the District 11 board members last Friday.
David Siegel, President of Track Master and a USTA Director proposed adding a new subsection to Rule 9 regarding the numbering of races to read "Race numbers will be sequential starting at "1" (one) and non-duplicated for each group of races with a common "race type" as defined by the USTA for any given calendar day. "Race Types" [and corresponding race codes] include the following: 1 - Qualifier, 2 - Time Trial, 3 - Baby Race, 4 - Official Workout, 5 - Afternoon PM, 6 - Evening PM, 7 - Matinee, 8 - Afternoon Fair, 9 - Evening Fair.
A proposal to amend Rule 17, Section 5, Subsection (c) to read as follows "Be at least 16 years of age for an (M) license" submitted by Chris Wittstruck, Jordan Stratton, Joe Faraldo, David Siegel, John Brennan and Bruce Tobin. Citing the finite number of drivers age 12-15 who competed in such races over a five-year span and to make the rule consistent with the same applied to getting a Q/F license, the board readily approved this change.
"It has never come up in Delaware, but it's a good change to make things more consistent," Boese said.
A proposal to amend Rule 26, Section 2 (h) to changing the first sentence to read as follows: "the status of a previously registered standardbred may be changed to Pleasure Horse upon application by the owner and surrender of the Registration Certificate to the USTA," submitted by Ellen Harvey of the USTA staff was approved.
A proposal from USTA staff member Kent Hastings to add new section to Rule 20 - STANDARD OF CONDUCT to read as follows: "Any person who shall represent themselves to be the registered owner of a horse knowing that said horse to be owned wholly or in part by a person or persons barred or otherwise disqualified from participating in racing shall be suspended from membership in this Association for a minimum of 1 year." also passed.
"The rule should prevent owners from trying to race horses for people who otherwise would not be allowed to race horses," Boese noted.
Harvey also submitted a proposal to amend Article 1, Section 3, (m) to read as follows: "Forthwith, any person who has been the subject of a final order in a prosecution under any state animal welfare statute shall be disqualified from membership in this Association for a minimum period of one year with the length of disqualification beyond one year to be determined by the gravity of the offense." albeit with a minor change.
The board passed the bylaw change only upon replacing "animal" with "horse", with Boese citing two key reasons for the revision - the USTA can only make rulings regarding standardbreds and anyone involved in a crime involving another animal can not necessarily be presumed guilty of a similar offense with horses.
"Just because someone is bad with dogs, doesn't mean they'll treat horses the same way," Boese said. "We can't just assume they're bad with all animals."
Of the six bylaw and rule change proposals that were rejected, perhaps the most intriguing was the proposed change of the fractional and final times in harness races from one-fifth of a second increments to one one-hundredths of a second splits. Citing the way the swimming events were timed at the recent Summer Olympics, Eric Cherry (FL) proposed overhauling the timing system from fifths to hundredths but the board members nixed that proposal.
Among the speakers listed on the agenda following the commencement of the meeting were Mike Tanner, Executive Vice President/CEO, USTA, Charles Lockhart, VP of Horse Racing, Dover Downs; Sal DiMario, Executive Director, Delaware Standardbred Owners Association, and veterinarians, Dr. Paul F. Hanebutt, Jr. and Dr. Beatrix in der Wiesche.
A total of 110 people attended the annual event Friday evening and 40 door prizes were offered, totaling $12,000 in value, from a list of 30 sponsors, including the host establishment. The two biggest prizes drawn were a breeding to Delaware stallion Art Director, who stands for $3000, and a Spyder Bike.