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PA District Discusses Rule Changes, Fairs

Published: January 14, 2017 10:57 pm ET

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District 7 (Pennsylvania) of the United States Trotting Association held its annual meeting on Saturday (January 14) at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in this city in the southwest corner of the Keystone State, the hometown of District Chairman Sam Beegle.

Fellow directors Russell Williams and Rich Gillock, along with USTA CEO/VP Mike Tanner, were also present and helpful in discussions at the well-attended meeting.

In polling attendees about the USTA proposed rule changes, so that the Pennsylvania directors can represent the opinions of its membership at the USTA annual meeting, starting on February 26 in Las Vegas, the following were the membership opinions:

1. (Dead Heat language) – Rejected.
2. (Driver Insurance by Racetrack) – Rejected.
3. (Outrider) – Rejected.
4. (Mile rate in program) – Rejected.
5. (Symbol for 2nd tier starter) – Accepted.
6. (15YOs in amateur races) – Rejected.
7. (Purse Distribution) – Rejected.
8. (% of trainer/driver % to retired horses) – Rejected.
9. (Qualifiers from 60 days to 30 days) – Rejected, with one dissenting vote.
10. (Omitted horse drawn, others out one PP) – Rejected.
11. (Breaker must go outside or inside) – Accepted.
12. (Specific pylon violation standards) – Accepted, with one dissenting vote.
13. (Appeal / objection relationship) – Tabled, and asked to be reworded.
14. (Registration without owner’s signature) – Accepted.
15. (Delete “spayed or neutered”) – Accepted.
16. (Register foal online) – Withdrawn / moot with passage of #14.
17. a. (Letters/spaces in names from 18 to 20) – Accepted.
17. b. (Disallowing former names) – Rejected.
18. (Definition of “outstanding”) – Accepted.
19-28. (RUS rules) – Tabled; no RUS racing in Pennsylvania.
29. (Movement after allowing tuck) – Rejected.
30. (Track Directors) – Accepted.
31. (Term lengths for Directors) – Rejected.
32. (Language housekeeping) – Accepted.

The other major topic discussed at the meeting was the first of a set of revisions in the funding of fair racing in Pennsylvania. Saturday’s discussion focused on the initial item for which a framework had been reached, a revamping of the Fair Sire Stakes, which were strengthened by the PA Breeders giving a portion of their revenue stream to these PA-sired races. There will be an “A” and a “B” division in the Fair Sire Stakes for the first time, the latter in large part to replace the Quaker State races, which had no assured source of funding.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Fred Strathmeyer, whose departmental portfolio oversees harness racing, gave a broad overview of the proposed and possible future restructurings of fair funding that will allow Fair Sire Stake purses to increase and also shore up funding in administrative areas. Questions were asked about the developing program, specifically the Fair Sire Stakes proposal; as much information as could be was imparted to the gathering, with the prospect of further discussion likely this Thursday, with the annual Fair Sire Stakes meeting at the Pennsylvania Fair Convention in Hershey, PA.


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