NY Proposes Rules Tweaks for Challenging, Voiding Claims

Saratoga | Sarah Andrew

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The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) advanced a Thoroughbred claiming rules proposal Monday that would address the voiding of claims and ineligible potential claimants, establish procedures for resolving challenges to claims, and outline a specific procedure for horse custody if the stewards discover a claimant had been ineligible.

The proposal passed by unanimous voice vote with no discussion or debate among commissioners. The full text of the amended rules will now be published in the New York State Register. After a public commentary period, the NYSGC will reconvene to take a final vote on the measure.

In a brief that was included in the Aug. 22 meeting packet, NYSGC general counsel Edmund Burns explained the overall intent of the proposed changes to the rules under section 4038.

“It is in everyone's interests for any objections to a claim and any stewards' order in regard to ownership of a horse be raised and resolved as quickly as possible, so that custody of the horse may be determined promptly,” Burns wrote.

“This proposal would make explicit the current practice that it is the responsibility of the track's racing secretary to verify the eligibility of potential claimants and conduct the disposition of the horse by lot in the event of multiple claims,” Burns wrote.

“The proposal would establish a deadline of one hour after a race for an objection to a claim award to be made, in which case the stewards would hear from the interested parties the same day and determine whether to void the claim and then award it to a remaining eligible potential claimant, by lot if there is more than one eligible potential claimant remaining.

“There would be no further appeal to the Commission so long as this process was followed, given the need for finality to determine the custody and care of the horse,” Burns wrote.

“Similarly, according to this proposal, if the stewards discover, even absent an objection by a horseperson, that a claim had been awarded to an ineligible claimant, the stewards would need to act within 24 hours of the race to be able to order the delivery of the horse to a different owner or trainer,” Burns wrote.

“The proposal would make explicit that a horseperson who enters a potential claim despite being ineligible, and track office personnel charged with verifying eligibility who fail to do so properly, may face Commission discipline.

“The proposal would make explicit that a claim shall be void for any horse that is scratched before the race is started,” Burns wrote.

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