05/08/2013 1:37PM

California claiming rule changed

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The California Horse Racing Board is enacting a rule this month to void claims on horses that die or are placed on the veterinarian’s list for lameness or unsoundness in the races in which they are claimed.

The rule, which takes effect on May 16, was passed by the racing board in February and approved by the state Office of Administrative Law last week.

The new rule will void a claim if the racing veterinarian or state veterinarian judges a horse to be lame or unsound on the racetrack immediately after the race, or at the receiving barn before the horse is released to the new owner and trainer.

In a statement, the racing board said that implementation of the rule has been delayed until May 16 to give the parties involved an opportunity to understand the changes.

In February, Dr. Rick Arthur, California’s equine medical director, told the racing board that 96 horses were claimed and placed on vet’s list for lameness or unsoundness in California from a three-year period beginning in 2009. Of those, 13 horses were euthanized as a result of racing injuries.

The new rule is an amendment to a 2011 rule change that voided a claim if a horse died during a race or before it was unsaddled after a race. That rule was deemed inadequate after two incidents when a horse suffered a severe injury on the track, but was transported off the track and euthanized in the stable area.