10/03/2017 3:09PM

International Federation of Horseracing Authorities approves model rule regarding interference

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An international racing consortium has approved a model rule that calls for stewards to determine whether a horse’s finish position was compromised when determining the order of finish in the event of interference by another horse.

The executive council of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, a organization that has 60 countries, including the U.S., as its members, approved the model rule unanimously on Tuesday, citing its effort to align the racing rules of most of its member jurisdictions. The approval is a strong recommendation that member jurisdictions adopt the rule formally.

“The inclusion in the International Agreement of this Model Rule on deciding protests/objections represents a significant achievement in the IFHA’s quest for major racing rules to be harmonized across all member countries,” the chairman of the IFHA, Louis Romanet, said in a release prepared by the organization. The statement noted that the need for consistency was becoming more urgent because of the increasing availability of foreign simulcasts in member countries.

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The model rule states that the finish position of horses in a race should “remain unaltered” if “in the opinion of the staging authority’s relevant judicial body” the “sufferer would not have finished ahead of the horse causing the interference,” and vice versa.

In the U.S., rules in racing states give stewards the authority to determine when to alter a finish order in the case of interference, with the most prominent difference between the states in whether the rule says stewards “may” or “shall” disqualify a horse because of an incident. But both rules give the stewards the authority to determine whether the interference affected the result, allowing for wide leeway in the interpretation of the impact of an incident.