A. Before the first heat or race at any meeting is contested, the officials and drivers shall meet at a time and place designated by the presiding judge, at which time the rules and regulations shall be discussed and all drivers' licenses shall be examined by the starter. Every driver shall be notified of the time and place of the meeting. A driver who shall, after notice, fail to attend the meeting may not be permitted to drive until he shall have met with the officials of the meeting by appointment thereafter at their convenience, and may be fined in a sum not to exceed $100.
B. All horses shall race from the paddock and shall be in the paddock 60 minutes before off-time of the first heat or race in which they are scheduled to start, and, if racing more than one heat or race, shall return to the paddock after each heat or race until the final heat or race in which the horses are scheduled to start has been completed.
C. The judges shall ring a bell or otherwise notify the paddock 15 minutes before the off-time announced for the heat or race, which shall be notice to all parties to prepare for the heat or race. All horses shall parade from the paddock upon the track and before the grandstand not later than 8 minutes before off-time. A horse or driver not on the track 8 minutes before off-time ready to parade shall be fined not exceeding $100 and his horse may be ruled out by the judges and considered withdrawn at their discretion. In all stakes and matches, failure to appear constitutes a forfeit.
D. At the conclusion of each heat or race, every driver shall return in the sulky to be dismissed by the patrol judge stationed at the wire. A driver may not dismount or leave the track until permission to do so has been granted by the patrol judge. A driver desiring to enter a claim of foul or other complaint of violation of the rules shall, before dismounting, indicate to the patrol judge his desire to enter the claim or complaint and forthwith shall proceed to the paddock and telephone the judges' stand, where and when the claim of foul or other complaint of violation of the rules shall be immediately entered. A complaint may not be considered unless made to the judges in the manner provided in these regulations. The judges may not cause the official sign to be displayed until the claim of foul or other complaint of violation of the rules has been entered and considered.
E. In the event of an accident occurring in the course of a heat or race, the cause shall be investigated by the judges immediately at the conclusion of the heat or race. A driver or drivers may be called to the telephone for the purpose of the investigation. The judges may not cause the official sign to be displayed until an investigation is made.
F. All heats or races shall be started from a starting gate or starting device or a design approved by the Commission.
G. If racing pursuant to license is conducted at night, the post time for the first race shall be set by the association conducting the meeting, the time to be approved by the Commission. If, due to inclement weather, track conditions, power failure, or any other cause, the post time of the first race must be delayed, the post time of the first race may not be later than 8:45 p.m. The post time of the last heat or race may not be later than 11:59 p.m., unless permission is granted by the Maryland Racing Commission.
H. Driving Rules.
(1) Although a leading horse is entitled to any part of the track, except after selecting a position in the home stretch, the driver of the first horse or any other driver in the race may not do any of the following things, which are considered violations of driving rules:
(a) Change either to the right or left during any part of the race when another horse is so near the driver that in altering his position the driver compels the horse behind the driver to shorten his stride, or causes the driver of the other horse to pull him out of his stride;
(b) Jostle, strike, hook wheels, or interfere with another horse or driver;
(c) Cross sharply in front of a horse or cross over in front of a field of horses in a reckless manner, endangering other drivers;
(d) Swerve in and out or pull up quickly;
(e) Crowd a horse or driver by "putting a wheel under him";
(f) Carry a horse out;
(g) Sit down in front of a horse or take up abruptly in front of other horses so as to cause confusion or interference among trailing horses;
(h) Let a horse pass inside needlessly, or otherwise help another horse improve his position in the race;
(i) Commit any act which impedes the progress of another horse or causes him to break;
(j) Change course after selecting a position in the home stretch or swerve in and out, or bear in and out, in such a manner as to interfere with another horse or cause him to change course or take back;
(k) Drive in a careless or reckless manner;
(l) Whip under the arch of the sulky, the penalty for which is not less than 10 days suspension;
(m) Lay off the normal pace, thereby leaving a hole when it is well within the horse's capability to keep the hole closed; or
(n) Drive a horse in a manner which would put the horse half-in or half-out of any racing lane on the racetrack.
(2) In case of interference, collision, or violation of any of the above restrictions, the offending horse may be placed back one or more positions in that heat or dash, and if a collision or interference prevents any horse from finishing the heat or dash, the offending horse may be disqualified from receiving any winnings, and the driver may be fined not to exceed the amount of the purse or stake contended for, or may be suspended or expelled. If a horse is set back, under the provisions of this section, he shall be placed behind the horse with whom he interfered.
(3) If, in the opinion of the judges, a driver is for any reason unfit or incompetent to drive, refuses to comply with the directions of the judges, or displays reckless conduct and endangers the safety of horses or other drivers in the race, the driver may be removed and another driver substituted at any time after the positions have been assigned in a race, and the offending driver shall be fined, suspended, or expelled. The substitute driver shall be properly compensated.
(4) If, for any cause other than being interfered with or broken equipment, a horse fails to finish after starting in a heat, that horse shall be ruled out.
(5) Loud shouting or other improper conduct is forbidden in a race.
(6) Drivers shall keep both feet in the stirrups from the start of the race until after the finish of the race.
(7) Drivers are allowed whips not to exceed 4 feet 8 inches, plus a snapper not longer than 8 inches.
(8) The use of any goading device, chain, or mechanical devices or appliances, other than the ordinary whip or crop, upon any horse in any race, constitutes a violation of this rule.
(9) The brutal use of a whip or crop or excessive or indiscriminate use of the whip or crop is considered a violation, and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $100, or suspension.
(a) When a horse breaks from its gait in trotting or pacing, its driver shall at once:
(i) Except as provided in §H(10)(b) of this regulation, take the horse to the outside or to the inside;
(ii) Pull the horse to its gait; and
(iii) Lose ground on the field.
(b) If the pulling of a horse on a break to its gait and losing ground does not interfere with a trailing horse, the driver of the horse is not required to take the horse to the outside or the inside.
(c) If there has been no failure on the part of the driver to comply with the provisions of §H(10)(a) of this regulation, the horse may not be set back unless a contending horse on its gait is lapped on the hind quarter of the breaking horse at the finish.
(d) The judges may set any horse back one or more places if, in their judgment, any of the above violations have been committed.
(e) It is not a violation of §I of this regulation if:
(i) A breaking horse is taken inside the hub rail or euro rail in a straightaway when complying with §H(10)(a)(i) of this regulation; and
(ii) The horse, when clear, comes back onto the track before entering a turn.
(11) If, in the opinion of the judges, a driver allows his horse to break for the purpose of fraudulently losing a heat, the driver is liable to the penalties elsewhere provided for fraud and fouls.
(12) To assist in determining the matters contained in §H(9) and (10) of this regulation, it is the duty of one of the judges to call out each break made, and the clerk at once shall note the break and character of it in writing.
(13) The time between separate heats of a single race is not less than 40 minutes. A heat may not be called after sunset when the track is not lighted for night racing.
(14) Horses called for a race have the exclusive right of the course, and all other horses shall vacate the track at once, unless permitted to remain by the judges.
(15) In the case of accidents, only so much time is allowed as the judges may deem necessary and proper.
(16) A driver shall be mounted in his sulky at the finish of the race, or the horse shall be placed as not finishing.
(17) At a 5/8 mile or larger racetrack, a driver shall:
(a) Have a line in each hand at the start of the race; and
(b) Keep a line in each hand from the start of the race until the driver's horse reaches the 1/4 pole.
(18) A violation of §H(17) of this regulation may not, of itself, be used as the reason for the disqualification of a horse.
I. Hub Rail or Euro Rail.
(1) When a euro rail is used, the pylons may not be farther than 25 feet apart from the half-mile pole to the head of the stretch.
(2) If a horse or part of a horse's sulky leaves the course by going inside the hub rail or euro rail and, in the opinion of the judges, the action gave the horse an unfair advantage over other horses in the race or the action helped the horse improve its position in the race, the horse may be disqualified from receiving any winnings.
(3) In the case of an act of interference or a violation of §H(1) of this regulation, which causes a horse or part of a horse's sulky to leave the course by going inside the hub rail or euro rail, and the horse is placed by the judges, the offending horse shall be placed behind the horse with which the offending horse interfered.
J. Open Stretch Racing.
(1) With the approval of the Commission, a racing association may widen the homestretch of its race course up to 10 feet inward to create a passing lane for the purpose of allowing a horse to improve its position during the stretch run.
(2) When a passing lane exists:
(a) A horse may not enter the passing lane except:
(i) When entering the final homestretch run, and
(ii) For the purpose of attempting to improve the horse's position;
(b) The lead horse in the homestretch may not enter or encroach upon the passing lane.
(3) The purpose and intent of open stretch racing shall take precedence over other sections of this regulation which may conflict with it.