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Court Affirms Ruling for USTA

April 6, 1999

CINCINNATI (AP) _ A federal appeals court today refused to reinstate a $1.95 million award against the United States Trotting Association, which was sued by the maker of a sulky that was banned by the association.

Rules adopted by the USTA in 1993 to standardize the two-wheeled buggy used in harness racing banned the Cheetah Super Sulky made by Super Sulky Corp.

When the maker went out of business, it sued the association and won a jury award of $650,000 in damages, which was tripled to $1.95 million in antitrust cases.

A federal judge in Akron, Ohio, set aside the award, and the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Tuesday.

Cheetah-style sulkies manufactured by several makers differed from traditional styling in that they connected the buggy to the horse with an hourglass shape instead of straight shafts. The maker claimed they created a narrower and more aerodynamic form, leading to faster times.

However, some horsemen objected for a variety of reasons, and the USTA’s survey of sulky drivers showed a majority of them favored making the conventional-style sulky the standard, according to court records.

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