09/17/2008 12:00AM

California changes claiming rule


Claiming horses returning from layoffs of at least six months in California can be entered with a provision that will make them ineligible to be claimed in their comeback races, according to a rule change recently implemented by the California Horse Racing Board.

The rule change, which takes effect with entries on Saturday, is designed to give claiming-class horses a break from racing when necessary and not be plundered by rival owners and trainers when they return to competition. The claiming horses can be entered as ineligible to be claimed for the first race of their comebacks, but must return for a value equal to or greater than their preceding starts, according to a statement released by the racing board.

The rule change was proposed by the Thoroughbred Owners of California earlier this year and was adopted by the racing board in May. The rule change was subject to review by the state's office of administrative law before becoming effective.

"It is to the owner's advantage to be able to bring that horse back and run one time [and] not have to worry about somebody claiming the horse and taking advantage of the time and money spent in the rehab of the horse," Tom Bachman, director of the owners' group, told the racing board earlier this year.