USTA District 6 convenes in Lexington, votes on rule change proposals

Lexington, KY — The first United States Trotting Association district meeting of the 2022-23 cycle took place Friday (Oct. 7) morning at The Red Mile in Lexington, Ky.

A compact but committed group of attendees participated, including USTA District 6 directors Joe Pennacchio, Dr. Andy Roberts, and Dein Spriggs. The session was moderated by Mike Tanner, the Association’s Executive Vice President and CEO, and featured lively consideration of 20 rule change proposals and one bylaw amendment, of which five were accepted, 11 rejected, and five tabled for further examination.

The USTA Board of Directors will vote on the entire slate of proposals at its meeting in March of next year. District votes like the one on Friday are non-binding, but help inform and guide the Board’s final decisions.

Several rule change proposals concerning breeding limits, reporting, and embryo transfer generated the most discussion, including contributions from Shaun  Laungani, Director of Bloodstock Services at Diamond Creek Farm, and Ken Jackson, an owner/partner of Kentuckiana Farms who also sits as a member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Joe Costa, President and CEO of The Red Mile, provided his perspective and insight as a racetrack operator (and previous horse owner) throughout the meeting.

The five proposals recommended for acceptance are far-ranging in scope. The District 6 assemblage voted to approve language that more fully defines when racing officials should declare a race “no contest”; provides for less paperwork and bureaucracy for those involved in stallion syndicates; creates a new, non-voting category of membership for those participating in the Standardbred Incentive Program; adds a track director seat to District 6, effectively replacing the one lost with the closure of Pompano Park, and provides for mandatory electronic roll call voting and reporting whenever USTA directors vote upon rules, bylaws, and/or resolutions.

Separately, the directors re-elected Joe Pennacchio to continue as the District 6 chairman.

The district voted on each respective issue as follows:
Proposal #1 – Saddle Pad Colors: REJECTED
Proposal #2 – Infield Pond Barriers: REJECTED
Proposal #3 – Racing Official/Driver Conflict of Interest: REJECTED
Proposal #4 – “No Contest” Criteria: ACCEPTED
Proposal #5 – Stallion Syndicate Requirements: ACCEPTED
Proposal #6 – Partnership Listed Owners: TABLED
Proposal #7 – Horses 15 and Older: REJECTED
Proposal #8 – Claim Announcements: REJECTED
Proposal #9 – Two-Year-Olds on the Gate: TABLED
Proposal #10 – Purse Money Distribution: REJECTED
Proposal #11 – Amateur Racing Licenses: REJECTED
Proposal #12 – Filing of Driver Objections: TABLED
Proposal #13 – AI Following Castration or Death: TABLED
Proposal #14 – Monthly Breeding Reporting: REJECTED
Proposal #15 – Live Foals > 140 Limit: REJECTED
Proposal #16 – Live Foals > 140 Limit: REJECTED
Proposal #17 – Embryo Transfer Restrictions: REJECTED
Proposal #18 – SIP Membership Category: ACCEPTED
Proposal #19 – District 6 Track Directors: ACCEPTED
Proposal #20 – Roll Call Votes: ACCEPTED
Proposal #21 – Anti-Harassment: TABLED

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