03/28/2008 12:00AM

California passes new claim rule

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The California Horse Racing Board on Thursday approved a rule change that, subject to final approval, would allow a horse returning from a layoff of 180 days or more, at a claiming price equal to or higher than in its last race, to be designated ineligible to be claimed.

The board also approved a rule change that would result in the stewards either fining a trainer $1,000 or scratching a horse running for the first time as a gelding who is not identified as such in the program.

The board also approved the classification of steroids as illegal substances and the banning of nerved horses - those who have had a nerve removed from a lower leg to alleviate pain.

The public will be allowed to comment on the rule changes before the board's final vote.

The board also approved dates of upcoming meetings at Hollywood Park (April 23-July 13) and Golden Gate Fields (May 13-June 22).