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Delaware rule controversy

July 28, 2006

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A rule that has been in effect since last February in Delaware concerning vaccination papers precluded 11 horses from starting in the overnight events on the Governor’s Cup card at Harrington Raceway Thursday, July 27, leading to complaints by some horsemen because it didn’t affect horses entered in the four Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) races.

According to a story in today’s Delaware News Journal, a rule enacted last February by Delaware’s Dept. of Agriculture requires that all horses entered for racing or showing in the state must have a certificate for Equine Influenza and Rhinopneumonitis (EVH) within the past 90 days. The abovementioned 11 horses were all taken out of the entry box when the card was drawn last Friday because there were no certificates on file.

However, connections of those horses entered in the DSBF races were given until race day to provide the certificate. DSBF director Judy Wilson explained to harnessracing.com Friday afternoon that five horses were affected and that all necessary papers were filed within 24 hours of the draw.

“We did it at Dover so we continued to do it at Harrington…if they didn’t have their EHV vaccination, we let them bring it at race time, and if they didn’t they were scratched,” said Wilson. “This was done because it was a paid-in event, the other races are overnights.”

Delaware’s administrator of harness racing, Hugh Gallagher, in part told the News Journal, “It’s entirely different for the breeders’ races because owners put up nominating fees and sustaining fees. I was taught 25 years ago in this business that you always give a courtesy to stake horses.”

\"I messed up with my horses and it was my fault,\" trainer Tony Domino was quoted as saying. \"But, if that rule is good enough for me why isn\'t it good enough for everybody?\"
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