Older Horse Committee To Meet During Congress

Published: January 26, 2009 10:36 am EST

Industry leaders in the standardbred sport are once again gearing up for the Racing Congress in Las Vegas in early February to discuss many important issues facing our industry, and one of the many issues is 'How to keep our Equine Stars on the Racetrack' past the age of three.

The second meeting on this subject will be held Tuesday, February 3 at 11:45 a.m. (PST) at the Bellagio. The meeting will take place after the HTA Board of Directors session in Bellagio Ballroom seven. The discussion will once again revolve around letting 'only horses sired by a stallion five years old and older to participate in said stake races at participating tracks.'

The driving force behind the initiative, Jeffrey Gural, chairman for American Racing and Entertainment which owns and operates Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs, offered the following in a recent email to many industry stakeholders asking them to attend the meeting:

“We believe the industry is crying out for someone to take the initiative to at least make an effort to reverse the long steady decline in interest by the general public in our sport. We also believe that if horse owners know their horse will have to race at the age of four, it might encourage and promote the breeding of sounder horses, which would be a benefit to everyone. This rule would also have some provision to allow horses that physically could not race at age four to be excluded from this prohibition.”

The program would be a two-year 'Pilot Program' that would go into effect in 2013 and would affect three-year-olds racing in 2009. Only horses sired by a stallion five years old and older would be eligible to race in said stake races at participating tracks.

Gural also noted, “Hopefully, we will be able to make a decision on this important subject as we believe that it is only fair to owners of three-year-olds racing this season to know well in advance that this two-year pilot program is going to be implemented in 2013, so they can plan accordingly.”

Invitations have been emailed to many stakeholders, including racetrack operators, owners and breeders. If you would like to attend the meeting and have not received an email, please email [email protected], as seating arrangements are limited.

(Older Horse Committee)

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