09/20/2012 3:49PM

New California claiming rule proposed

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POMONA, Calif. – Claims submitted for horses who are later placed on official veterinary lists, for issues such as unsoundness or lameness, will be voided in California if a proposed rule is passed in coming months by the California Horse Racing Board.

Currently, horses who are claimed and placed on official veterinary lists are considered claimed, and are transferred to the new owner and trainer.

Thursday, the board voted 6-1 to allow for the rule change to be subject to a 45-day comment period to gauge opinion from horsemen and the public. “We want to do the right thing by the horse,” commissioner Chuck Winner said.

Commissioner Richard Rosenberg voted against sending the rule for a public comment, saying he “was totally opposed to this language.”

The new rule states that a claim will be voided and the horse returned to the original owner if aN association or CHRB “veterinarian determine the horse will be placed on the veterinarian’s list as unsound or lame before the horse is released to the successful claimant.”

This fall, after the 45 days, the racing board will revisit the rule change and are expected to vote. If approved, an actual rule change is several months away.

The proposal follows a rule change implemented in the last year in California that voids a claim if a horse is euthanized on the racetrack.

The rule has resulted in controversy. At least twice during the Del Mar meeting, horses were claimed, transported back to the new trainer’s stable, but found to be too severely injured to be saved. Both horses were euthanized in the stables and not on the track, resulting in the transfer of ownership.