01/31/2006 1:00AM

Kentucky bans collar type


The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority has banned for racing purposes the use of a type of collar designed to prevent common breathing obstructions in horses.

Known as a Cornell Collar, the device is meant to prevent palate displacement, but the state's chief steward, John Veitch, said the collar introduces too many variables into how it is used and regulated and that it needs to be studied further if the ban eventually is to be revoked. The collar was developed at Cornell University in 2002 and has been in use for less than two years.

One concern regarding the collar is that a horse's performance could be manipulated by tightening or loosening it.

Veitch said that, to his knowledge, the collar had been used sparingly, if at all, until the the issue arose last week when a horse named Silver Mark wore it winning a race a $5,000 claiming race at Turfway Park at 4-1. The collar is banned in New York and Pennsylvania, said Veitch.