Fort Lauderdale, FL --- The 2013 annual meeting of the U.S. Trotting Association was convened today, as part of the sixth Harness Racing Congress, with the day’s order of business the meetings of five committees.
The Rules Committee met to finalize its year-long project to re-codify the entire U.S. Trotting Association rule book -- not to rewrite any of the regulations that govern licensing, racing and breeding in the United States -- but to reorganize and clarify its content.
The project, according to Rules Committee Chairman Dick Brandt, was mounted to better organize the book’s content.
“We made no actual changes to any rule,” Brandt said. “Our mission was to remove archaic and inconsistent wording -- like ‘hobbles’ and ‘hopples’ being used interchangeably in the book -- and to add many, many definitions to help horsemen and judges in their understanding of what’s in the book.
“When we came across something in the current rules that might need to be changed we simply made a note to possibly put it through the regular rule-change process in the future.”
The USTA by-laws permit individuals to forward rule change proposals, which are then discussed at the district level before being acted upon by the USTA Board of Directors. Brandt will lead a discussion of 2013’s proposals on Sunday and the full board will vote each one up or down at Monday’s closing session. The full board will vote to approve the re-codification of the rules on Sunday.
The USTA’s Executive, Registration and Pari-Mutuel Committees were also convened.
USTA/Mark Hall photo The Registration Committee heard the annual report of the registrar.
The Pari-Mutuel Committee heard reports on plans for Back to the Track 2013, which is being planned for the weekend of July 5-7, and the Strategic Wagering Program, which offered guarantees on 1,050 races at 21 tracks this year, and will expand its reach to even more tracks in the coming year.
The Pari-Mutuel panel also discussed adoption of an automated morning line program being designed by TrackMaster, which several tracks said they were interested in employing; the committee asked the USTA to aid in development of the program, but after other programs, such as online horse entry are given priority.
All Congress attendees will meet at a reception on Saturday evening; on Sunday three more panel discussions will be conducted before the full USTA Board convenes at 1 p.m., eastern, in a session that will be broadcast online at ustrotting.com.