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USTA District 7 meets, discusses rule changes
Saturday, January 13, 2018 - by Jerry Connors

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Bedford, PA --- The annual meeting of the United States Trotting Association’s District 7, encompassing Pennsylvania, was held on Saturday (Jan. 13) at the Omni Bedford Springs Report in this Pennsylvania city.

District Chairman Sam Beegle was joined by directors Russell Williams, Rich Gillock, Barry Brown, and Kevin Decker.

Beegle asked Williams to guide the review of the USTA rule change proposals. Russell stated that the group would start with the series of proposals turned in by the Universal Rules Committee, chaired by John Campbell and including Pennsylvanians Williams, Brett Revington, and Anthony Clark; the other proposals were then discussed.

The entire list of rule change and by-law proposals may be found here

Below are the recommendations of those attending the District 7 meeting for their directors at the USTA national meetings in Columbus late this winter. The recommendations are presented as they were numbered; those marked with an asterisk (*) were the proposals of the Rules Committee.

It was noted that at the beginning that the wording used in all of the proposals should indicate the rules should be applied only at “extended pari-mutuel tracks.”

1. (uniform claiming allowance percentages) - Tabled
2. (head numbers) – Approved
3. (define “length”) – Approved
4. (breath analyzer requirements)* - Approved 
5. (vs. human illegal drugs)* - Approved
6. (officials at charted matinees) – Tabled
7. (track condition, variant, wind indicator)* – Tabled. It was proposed that the “variant” should include both wind and weather factors, and that other track condition designations should be considered.
8. (identifier verifies males) – Approved
9. (stable vs. corporation) – Approved
10. (scratches due to date change) – Tabled
11. (“fair start” pole)* - Approved by a 14-4 vote. This proposal drew one of the most spirited participation, with the discussion basically dividing at the term “protecting the majority of the public” vs. the extra betting from “wagering whales” which often follows this triggering situation.
12. (driver in accident – medical clearance)* - Approved
13. (human disorderly conduct)* - Approved
14. (equality of substitute driver)* -- Rejected, primarily because it was felt the decision should belong to the trainers, not the judges.
15. (whipping regulations #1) – Rejected; several horsemen were concerned by “loose lining,” especially in the stretch.
16. (whipping regulations #2) – Rejected
17. (“unnecessary” on track conversation)* – Approved with amendment limiting the objectionable conversation to range from “the start of the post parade to the finish.”
18. (“change of sex” notification) – Approved
19. (restricted trainers/”trainers”)* – Approved by a 16-1 vote.
20. (pleasure horse registration) – Approved
21. (correction of ownership transfer date) – Approved
22. (non-reusable horse names) – Approved
23. (embryo transfers) – Approved
24. (dissolution of district meetings; by-law change) – Rejected

There was also a discussion on the coming of chip implantation, with most favoring the move but some expressing a concern for hardship imposed on several groups, with the Amish particularly focused on, but the low cost of the scanners offset many of these concerns.

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