California Horse Racing Board modifies claiming rule

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In a unanimous vote Thursday, the California Horse Racing Board gave its approval to a proposed rule change on claiming races. Under the new rule, a claim will be void if a horse is placed on the vet’s list after being found to be lame or unsound after the race or in the receiving barn, after being inspected by a veterinarian.

The rule change amends a 2011 rule that voided a claim if a horse died during a race or before it was unsaddled, which was deemed inadequate.

According to a report by the Blood-Horse, the new rule will go into effect later this year.

Dr. Rick Arthur, the board’s equine medical director, said that the rule would not apply to horses that are vanned off due to heat exhaustion or that bleed from the lungs.

» Read more at Blood-Horse
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  • Sandra Warren

    That’s a good change.  It’s much more in the spirit of how the original rule change was intended.  I like that they had an exculsion for heat exhaustion and epistaxsis as well.  This certainly shows good consideration for the horse.  Maybe more of them will be turned out when they need it.

    • Jeffrey

      Agreed. Definitely a sound step in a positive direction.

    • nu-fan

      Sandra–and Warren: Thank you for your comments.  As just a fan, when I read the article, above, it looked reasonable to me but wasn’t sure.  It’s good to see that you two, who, obviously, have knowledge about these matters also found this a good move by the CHRB.  Changes are hard to implement but if done, even if little by little, it gives me encouragement that horseracing will improve the way it runs its business as well as, in the long run, also takes care of the horses that entertain the fans.  It would be hard to stay being a fan, otherwise.

  • Sandra Warren

    That’s a good change.  It’s much more in the spirit of how the original rule change was intended.  I like that they had an exculsion for heat exhaustion and epistaxsis as well.  This certainly shows good consideration for the horse.  Maybe more of them will be turned out when they need it.

  • FourCats

    Let me say, I am completely against running any horse that is unfit to race for whatever reason.
     
    However, this rule solves nothing.  It just tilts the rules to favor the buyer over the seller.  Are they also going to disallow a claim if the previous owner underestimated the horse’s talent, and that horse wins by 15?  Especially if that previous owner had spent months working to get the horse healthy and fit only to lose it the first time back.

    Want to really fix the problem?  Eliminate claiming races.  (Or give all owners the option of running in any race at any level without that horse being eligible to be claimed.)  Detach the racing of a horse from the buying/selling of a horse.  Someone who wants to race his/her horse runs for a purse and takes the horse home afterward (regardless of how the horse comes out of the race).  And someone who wants to sell his/her horse does that at auction or privately (or perhaps the track can set up a database where horses can be bought or sold using the same mechanism as is used for claiming; except that no race be involved).

    • Jeffrey

      It doesn’t seem you thought this through with respect to the consequences.

      A claiming race is superior to an auction / private sale for claiming class racing stock as potential buyers can mitigate much of the cost of due dilligence associated with the methods you propose.

      The CHRB is simply trying to insure that buyers aren’t receiving racing stock that is not in race shape. By putting the onus on the sellers to take this responsibility mitigates some of those costs and makes for an efficient market.

      Certainly claiming class racing stock can be matched by conditions like allowance races with a limit on the winnings — purse size also helps to classify quality.

      But why break-up a solution that performs several functions? Especially when horse owners are more than welcome to, and do, trade claiming stock through private sales and / or auction.

      Do you now or have you ever owned racing stock? Have you ever purchased racing stock at an auction?

      Perhaps your solution is borne from the loins of your own experience of having claimed a horse, incurred expenses on its behalf until it was ready to race, and then had the horse claimed away soon after coming back to the races.

      That’s horse racing. Owning and racing horses is a huge gamble.

      The consequences? Eliminating claiming races and adopting your proposal would only add costs to ownership of racing stock, and for no good reason.

      • FourCats

        Actually, I have been thinking this through for decades.  I have been a fan of horse racing for about 50 years.  And, in the last decade, I have bought 5 horses from auction and raced them.  Two of them were claimed from me.  I have never claimed a horse.
         
        I don’t agree that eliminating claiming races would add to the cost of ownership.  As I mentioned in my comment, one alternative to claiming races is to have a claiming database maintained by the track which could function identically except that claiming a  horse would not involve a race.  Owners who actually want to sell their horses could list those horses on the database and buyers could “claim” those horses from the database.  Funds would come from the buyer’s track account as they do now.  Such an option would allow the additional step, if the buyer chose, of examining the horse prior to the “claim” (not possible now with claiming races).  With this method, you have the classic willing buyer and willing seller.  No “additional” ownership costs would be incurred (except a vet check which would be the buyer’s option.)  Tying the buying/selling of a horse to a race adds nothing positive other than “that’s the way its always been done”. 
         
        The original intent of claiming races was to equalize the field by discouraging owners from putting a higher caliber horse in a cheaper race because that horse might be claimed.  These days, that fails because big, claiming stables are willing to drop a horse drastically just to get a win.  I have seen 5K claimers where half the field won recently for 10K or more.
         
        You ask why break-up this “solution” (ie. having claiming races)?  For exactly the reason that the CHRB imposed this rule; ie. so that owners don’t drop a horse that shouldn’t be racing just to get that horse claimed.  But the CHRB rule doesn’t solve that problem.  It just changes it slightly.  What happens when the horse shows problems a week after the race?  Presumably, that would be the buyer’s issue at that point.  But suppose the buyer says that the problem is because of the race and the post-race inspection wasn’t sufficient to pick up the problem?  Is the rule then changed to cover the first week after the race?  Who’s to say if the problem was caused by the race or the training since the race?  Additionally, another reason to eliminate claiming races is that many owners want to race their horses but have no desire to sell that horse.  However, if the horse is not fast enough to compete at a higher level, there is no race available for their horse to run where that horse can be competitive other than a claiming race.  What other sport (or industry) forces its participants to sell just to participate? 

  • FourCats

    Let me say, I am completely against running any horse that is unfit to race for whatever reason.
     
    However, this rule solves nothing.  It just tilts the rules to favor the buyer over the seller.  Are they also going to disallow a claim if the previous owner underestimated the horse’s talent, and that horse wins by 15?  Especially if that previous owner had spent months working to get the horse healthy and fit only to lose it the first time back.

    Want to really fix the problem?  Eliminate claiming races.  (Or give all owners the option of running in any race at any level without that horse being eligible to be claimed.)  Detach the racing of a horse from the buying/selling of a horse.  Someone who wants to race his/her horse runs for a purse and takes the horse home afterward (regardless of how the horse comes out of the race).  And someone who wants to sell his/her horse does that at auction or privately (or perhaps the track can set up a database where horses can be bought or sold using the same mechanism as is used for claiming; except that no race be involved).

  • DinkyDiva

    I find this refreshing.  Now maybe, horses will have a better survival rate instead of trying to unload them knowing that the horse has an issue.  Tweebster comes to mind.

  • DinkyDiva

    I find this refreshing.  Now maybe, horses will have a better survival rate instead of trying to unload them knowing that the horse has an issue.  Tweebster comes to mind.

  • Jeffrey

    It doesn’t seem you thought this through with respect to the consequences.

    A claiming race is superior to an auction / private sale for claiming class racing stock as potential buyers can mitigate much of the cost of due dilligence associated with the methods you propose.

    The CHRB is simply trying to insure that buyers aren’t receiving racing stock that is not in race shape. By putting the onus on the sellers to take this responsibility mitigates some of those costs and makes for an efficient market.

    Certainly claiming class racing stock can be matched by conditions like allowance races with a limit on the winnings — purse size also helps to classify quality.

    But why break-up a solution that performs several functions? Especially when horse owners are more than welcome to, and do, trade claiming stock through private sales and / or auction.

    Do you now or have you ever owned racing stock? Have you ever purchased racing stock at an auction?

    Perhaps your solution is borne from the loins of your own experience of having claimed a horse, incurred expenses on its behalf until it was ready to race, and then had the horse claimed away soon after coming back to the races.

    That’s horse racing. Owning and racing horses is a huge gamble.

    The consequences? Eliminating claiming races and adopting your proposal would only add costs to ownership of racing stock, and for no good reason.

  • Jeffrey

    Agreed. Definitely a sound step in a positive direction.

  • nu-fan

    Sandra–and Warren: Thank you for your comments.  As just a fan, when I read the article, above, it looked reasonable to me but wasn’t sure.  It’s good to see that you two, who, obviously, have knowledge about these matters also found this a good move by the CHRB.  Changes are hard to implement but if done, even if little by little, it gives me encouragement that horseracing will improve the way it runs its business as well as, in the long run, also takes care of the horses that entertain the fans.  It would be hard to stay being a fan, otherwise.

  • canada forever

    This will increase the shipping of horses to Arizona, Turf Paradise has no such rule and could become the “last stop” for horses that are questionable.  Just today, Lucky Fitz,  who dropped from an $8,000 at Santa Anita, where he ran a good 3rd into a $3,000. claiming race at Turf Paradise. He was vanned off and was claimed. I was told he was put to sleep.
    We need uniform rules across the board, from medication to claiming to licensing. If a trainer is a bad actor in one state why let him participate in another? With interstate wagering we are all betting on each other’s products.

    • Jeffrey

      Thanks for expanding on this. I agree 100%.

      Imagine if had different rules in different states; infield fly rule is in effect in Missouri, but not in Florida, or field goals count as 4 points in Texas but 3 points in other states except for, well, point made.

  • canada forever

    This will increase the shipping of horses to Arizona, Turf Paradise has no such rule and could become the “last stop” for horses that are questionable.  Just today, Lucky Fitz,  who dropped from an $8,000 at Santa Anita, where he ran a good 3rd into a $3,000. claiming race at Turf Paradise. He was vanned off and was claimed. I was told he was put to sleep.
    We need uniform rules across the board, from medication to claiming to licensing. If a trainer is a bad actor in one state why let him participate in another? With interstate wagering we are all betting on each other’s products.

  • Jeffrey

    Thanks for expanding on this. I agree 100%.

    Imagine if <pick a=”” major=”” sport=””> had different rules in different states; infield fly rule is in effect in Missouri, but not in Florida, or field goals count as 4 points in Texas but 3 points in other states except for, well, point made.</pick>

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GM4MKOH3SRM3GAZLMIKOOOAI74 jttf

    why does it take so long to have common sense rules put in place ?   this should have been a rule many many years ago to protect the health and well being of horses.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GM4MKOH3SRM3GAZLMIKOOOAI74 jttf

    why does it take so long to have common sense rules put in place ?   this should have been a rule many many years ago to protect the health and well being of horses.  

  • FourCats

    Actually, I have been thinking this through for decades.  I have been a fan of horse racing for about 50 years.  And, in the last decade, I have bought 5 horses from auction and raced them.  Two of them were claimed from me.  I have never claimed a horse.
     
    I don’t agree that eliminating claiming races would add to the cost of ownership.  As I mentioned in my comment, one alternative to claiming races is to have a claiming database maintained by the track which could function identically except that claiming a  horse would not involve a race.  Owners who actually want to sell their horses could list those horses on the database and buyers could “claim” those horses from the database.  Funds would come from the buyer’s track account as they do now.  Such an option would allow the additional step, if the buyer chose, of examining the horse prior to the “claim” (not possible now with claiming races).  With this method, you have the classic willing buyer and willing seller.  No “additional” ownership costs would be incurred (except a vet check which would be the buyer’s option.)  Tying the buying/selling of a horse to a race adds nothing positive other than “that’s the way its always been done”. 
     
    The original intent of claiming races was to equalize the field by discouraging owners from putting a higher caliber horse in a cheaper race because that horse might be claimed.  These days, that fails because big, claiming stables are willing to drop a horse drastically just to get a win.  I have seen 5K claimers where half the field won recently for 10K or more.
     
    You ask why break-up this “solution” (ie. having claiming races)?  For exactly the reason that the CHRB imposed this rule; ie. so that owners don’t drop a horse that shouldn’t be racing just to get that horse claimed.  But the CHRB rule doesn’t solve that problem.  It just changes it slightly.  What happens when the horse shows problems a week after the race?  Presumably, that would be the buyer’s issue at that point.  But suppose the buyer says that the problem is because of the race and the post-race inspection wasn’t sufficient to pick up the problem?  Is the rule then changed to cover the first week after the race?  Who’s to say if the problem was caused by the race or the training since the race?  Additionally, another reason to eliminate claiming races is that many owners want to race their horses but have no desire to sell that horse.  However, if the horse is not fast enough to compete at a higher level, there is no race available for their horse to run where that horse can be competitive other than a claiming race.  What other sport (or industry) forces its participants to sell just to participate? 

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