‘A Better Path Forward’: Industry Leaders To Discuss Changing Interference Rules

by | 08.05.2019 | 10:44am
Horses rounding the turn in the Kentucky Derby, in which Maximum Security was disqualified

Over the next week, a series of industry meetings in Saratoga Springs, New York will address, in some capacity, the potential adoption of Category 1 interference philosophy in North American racing.

On Tuesday, Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (TIF) Executive Director Patrick Cummings will discuss the topic in a session of the Albany Law School's Saratoga Institute on Equine, Racing and Gaming Law.

“It is heartening to see this level of dialogue on the topic, which has really gained momentum in the last few months, particularly after the Kentucky Derby demotion of Maximum Security” said Cummings.

“American racing stakeholders – most notably horseplayers, owners and fans – are regularly subject to the frustrations of a rule set that routinely sees horses, who were clearly the best or better performer on the day, demoted due to our antiquated rules. Different tracks in different states see different sets of stewards rule differently on the same situations. The stewards aren't often the problem, though they typically hear the quite obvious cries of owners and horseplayers, they are simply interpreting and applying a woefully under-developed set of rules.

“There is a better path forward, it's known as Category 1, and the dialogue needed to help bring that to North America takes a big step forward this week in Saratoga.”

The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) will host its standard summer session of the Model Rules Committee where the interference philosophy topic is on its agenda. A notable twist in 2019 is that members of the International Harmonization of Raceday Rules Committee, an assembly of stewards and regulators from six continents, are in Saratoga this week and will observe this session, while also holding a joint meeting on Friday with the Model Rules Committee.


The Jockey Club's 67th Annual Round Table on Matters Pertaining to Racing, Sunday, August 11, will feature Kim Kelly, Chief Stipendiary Steward of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Chairman of the International Harmoniziation of Raceday Rules Committee. Kelly's presentation, “Application of Interference Rules and International Stewarding Standards,” will speak to the work of the IHRRC, the advantages of Category 1 and experiences of jurisdictions that have shifted in recent years from Category 2 to Category 1.

Later next week, TIF will release a follow-up to its foundational paper from November 2018, “Changing The Rules,” highlighting the fundamental need of advanced stewards' reporting on issues germane to the running of the race.

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