02/23/2006 12:00AM

Kentucky reverses ban on collar

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The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority issued rules on Thursday that will allow horsemen to use a patented piece of equipment that is designed to prevent breathing problems in horses, effective immediately.

The equipment, the Cornell Collar, was banned by the authority earlier this month after it was used in a race at Turfway Park. It is designed to apply pressure to a horse's throat and prevent displacement of the soft palate, a breathing problem normally corrected through surgery.

Kentucky regulators banned the device because of unfamiliarity with how it works. The device, if used improperly, also has the potential to prevent a horse from breathing properly.

The new rules require a trainer to provide stewards a letter "stating that the use of the Cornell Collar is justified and appropriate" and its use be declared at the time of entry. Once the horse has worn the collar in a race, a trainer cannot remove the collar for the horse's next start without notifying the stewards.