05/16/2006 12:00AM

Calif. tries uncoupled entries

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The California Horse Racing Board on Monday voted to eliminate the coupling of entries for horses with common ownership on a trial basis for the current Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park meetings.

The decision was reached through a conference call of five members, and despite concern over the issue voiced by members of the public in recent months.

The decision to eliminate the coupling of entries is seen by the CHRB as a way to increase wagering interests and to allow the public to avoid being stuck with an unwanted part of an entry in the event of a late scratch.

In a recent public comment period, some letter writers feared that the lack of coupled entries could lead to the manipulation of race results.

During the trial, Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park will enact a house rule stating that there must be five separate wagering interests before entries are uncoupled.

The results of the trial will be reviewed at the CHRB's June meeting, according to chairman Richard Shapiro.