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☛ Trainers support Horse Training Integrity Act 1-24-18

Posted by on Jan 24, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments



Press release sponsored by Darby  Dan Farms
Jan. 24, 2018

According to a press release sponsored by Darby Dan Farms, leading North American trainer H. Graham Motion has joined the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) as the latest member in a growing list of trainers who support efforts for passage of The Horseracing Integrity Act.  To date, 65 trainers are represented on WHOA’s roster, including Hall of Famers Roger Attfield, Michael Dickinson, Neil Drysdale, and Jonathan Sheppard, as well as leading international trainers Ian Balding, John Gosden, Alec Head, Criquette Head-Maarek and Gai Waterhouse.

In a statement to WHOA, Motion shared the following:

From what I have seen WHOA is the only group that is making a serious effort to form a national governing body with uniform rules and penalties covering all 38 racing jurisdictions and in sync with international rules of racing (IFHA) bringing transparency and integrity to US racing.

I have held off joining WHOA up until now, but frustration with the lack of a governing body continues to become more apparent as shown by the problems that several horsemen including myself have experienced in the last few years.

There is a lack of understanding as to how complicated the medication rules have become from state to state and there seems to be a desire from the powers that be to trip us up rather than guide us through these issues.

We cannot compare ourselves to other countries when it comes to medication infractions. In the US we are allowed certain medications within a closer time frame to race day and in my mind herein lies the problem.

There is only one solution and that is a governing body with guidelines similar to other countries where common sense and uniform rules are used. Despite the sensitivity of testing, little has changed with regards to the environment in which our samples are handled.  This also would be better addressed by a group that would oversee all testing protocols. Without change we will continue to give our industry a black eye.

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☛ Sex offenders and background checks 1-19-18





By Glory Ann Kurtz
Jan. 19, 2018

Now is the time when horse organizations accept suggestions from their membership so they can honor some of their members to be in their respective Halls of Fame. Usually suggestions are made by members, with transcripts that include their great accomplishments in their particular industry. But do they really know all the information about the person they are suggesting be given the honors?

That’s kind of how our members of Congress are chosen and we know how that turned out. Or maybe it’s about the businessmen or women or film stars who have been highly successful, in great demand and are very wealthy. A group gets together and decides which of them should be honored … whether it be in film, music or business.  Or maybe it’s the news media who decides which businessmen have accomplishments worthy of some recognition. We also know how that all turned out.

That leads to the big question: “What DON’T we know about these individuals?” That’s been a lesson learned the hard way recently when several members of the U.S. Congress, as well as the top echelon of ownership and management of U.S. companies, who had to step down when they were accused of sexual harassment and assault. A majority of them didn’t even deny the allegations; they simply resigned to “being unmasked” as their female victims had finally came forward, saying  the sexual harassment had been going on for years. That includes the doctor at the Olympics who recently  had to face  his victims in court, with the parent of one of them revealing how her daughter had committed suicide after the sexual assault.

Sexual harassment and assault has also been going on in the horse industry for years – but in a much smaller scale than in the business or movie world as there are not many media outlets trying to seek out the perpetrators and unmask them to the industry. It’s easier to prove horse abuse than it is women or child abuse as usually there isn’t a lot of physical or court evidence available. It’s simply a woman’s or child’s word against the perpetrator’s and usually they are too ashamed or scared to report it in the first place. Personally, I know of instances where young girls have been abused for years and were too frightened of the perpetrator to report it.

However, the web site “,” recently unmasked a National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) long-time member who is a trainer, clinician and a member of their Hall of Fame, who has a conviction for “rape by force or threat.” The site published a state of California rap sheet of him, including a photo and his offenses that took place in 1963. The website, that also does background checks on individuals, stated that the information “was obtained through the public domain and in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.”

As a result, Les Vogt, 75, of Paso Robles, Calif., was exposed as a convicted felon through California’s Offense Code 261.3 Rape of Drugged Victim in 2002.

Click for Megan’s Law sex offender law in California>>

Recently California passed SB384, which is a new bill regarding sex offenders. However Vogt is still under the rules of the old bill as his offense was in 1963.

SB 384: California’s new 3-tiered sex offender registration system>>

According to his website, Vogt is “one of the horse world’s premier trainers, teachers and innovators, having won 15 World Champion Reining and Working Cow Horse titles, as well as countless other championships. He has been a member of the NRCHA Hall of Fame since 2004! Two years following his conviction for being a sex offender.

Les Vogt | NRCHA Hall of fame

Vogt’s website states, “As a teacher and clinician, Les lectures extensively in the United States, South America and Western Europe. His clinics welcome both professional and  non-pro students and every clinic is tailored for the participants.”

Vogt’s site emphasizes that his clinics focus on various aspects of the Western performance spectrum with special sessions available for reining, showmanship, working cow horse and young horses/young riders.  Vogt has 13 clinics planned for 2018 due to his success in the National Reined Cow Horse Association.

Vogt was also included in the film “Down The Fence,” regarding the reined cow horse that is promoted by the NRCHA and is now available on Netflix or can be purchased on Amazon.


While there’s not much an association’s Board of Directors can do to make sure all their fellow members are not sex offenders, it is possible to assure that the members of the board and/or individuals who are honored or voted in as officers or Hall of Fame members and who are role models for their members – especially the youth – are not sex offenders or have any felony  convictions on their record. A conviction of being a sex offender is a felony. As of yesterday, I checked with Megan’s List in California and Vogt is definitely still on the list and is, therefore, a sex offender and a felon.

Click for Sex Offender Registry FBI>>

An association’s Board can make it mandatory that anyone running for an office or the board of directors or are nominated for a Hall of Fam or another honorary position at a equine association, have a “background check” before they are moved into that position. If you don’t control who your officers and Hall of Fame members are, and you know that they have a felony on their rap sheet, the Association could be liable for the actions of these honorary members of that association as the honors given to them by the association usually signifies they are trustworthy as clinicians.

However, Jay Winborn, the Executive Director of the NRCHA  was given a copy of this article prior to it being published, and after consulting with the Board of Directors of the NRCHA, he made the following statement: “NRCHA is an equine association that promotes and produces reined cow horse events and does not comment on situations involving the personal lives of our members.” He also asked that several statements be eliminated that he had previously made.

It is interesting to note that to be an AQHA Professional Horseman in the Trainers Directory, the individuals have to go through a background check.

Also, the NRCHA, along with several other horse organizations, including the NCHA and APHA receive city, state and federal money for their events held at the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. There is a possibility if there were a lawsuit filed by a victim of a sexual assault at one of these events, that the facility, city, state or federal government could also be included in the lawsuit. That could be the tipping point to get a background check on the board and officers of each of those associations. At the very least, if it was discovered that some of the individuals on these association’s board of directors had felony convictions for sex offenses, these governmental departments may not want to participate – as well the event’s sponsors.

According to the NRCHA, as of Oct. 23, 2017, nominations were being accepted for the next election cycle for the NRCHA Board of Directors for positions for nomination currently held by Sandy Collier, Brad Barkemeyer, Amanda Gardiner and Dan Roeser. Positions remaining in office for 2018 include Todd Bergen, Paul Bailey, Jake Telford, Joe Carter, Jim Lane, Trey Neal, Diane Edwards and Jon Roeser.

Attached is a copy of the NRCHA 2018 Election Notice, which interestingly includes in disclosure and eligibility requirements: (iv) full disclosure of any felony convictions on record and signing the NRCHA Code of Conduct and Confidentiality agreement.

Click for NRCHA 2018 Election Notice>>

However, there is no known check or penalties in place to make sure those signing it are being truthful, other than, “If discovered, they will be immediately suspended from the ballot or later from the board.” No mention of the loss of their membership in the NRCHA.


Also, another group of members of horse associations who have access to women and children are the horse trainers who have clinics on a regular basis, teaching, among others, such as women and children, how to ride and show horses. The NCHA, AQHA, APHA and NRCHA all have a Trainer’s Directory, so it would be easy to make a background check one of the requirements to be in the Trainer’s Directory, especially if they are training the riders. The cost of the background check could be up to the trainer, or part of their membership fee to be included in the association’s Trainer Directory. Several trainers are having their clinics at their own facilities.

However, according to my legal sources, if you’re not the trainer putting on the clinic, individuals or associations who are putting on clinics should check with the Sex Offender National Registry or the Sex Offender Registry in the state the clinician is living in to see if they are on the sex-offender list. If they fail to do that, the person or people, including associations, putting on the clinic could be involved in a lawsuit if the trainer they hired is accused of a sex offense during the clinic, should there be a complaint regarding sexual harassment or assault.

Also, if you are a horse facility owner and employ a trainer, if you do a background check on them, you can be assured that they are not sex offenders before they have the run of your facility and customers. If the trainer is coming from out of state, that state’s sex-offender registry should be checked if you don’t find them on the National Sex Offender chart. This could also help to alleviate any legal action against you.

Click for National Sex Offender chart>>

By today’s heightened awareness of sexual predation in our society, it seems prudent for 501 C 3 nonprofit organizations to design standards of care and rule adoptions to insure the safety and well being of its members and is especially prudent when an individual is a role model for new and upcoming generations. It would also be relevant for associations to have a hotline where victims can call into the association without being exposed as to who they are.

If you have any further questions regarding this problem, it is covered in Rick Dennis’ book “The American Horse Industry – Avoiding the Pitfalls,” available from Dennis at WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC, Richard E. Dennis, Managing Member

Phone: (985) 630-3500, Email:, Email – Personal:, Web Site:, or from online sources such as


The first question most people ask is, “Where do I go to find someone to do a legitimate background check on upcoming officers or members of the Hall of Fame?” You can do a lot of research yourself by Googling “background checks” for a variety of choices. If you would rather have an outside service do the checking for you, Rate My Horse Pro, who did the background check on Vogt, does background checks as well as do most private investigators. It may be one of the best investments your company, facility or association can make.

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☛ God, Guts, Guns and Taxes – 1-5-18



By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Jan. 5, 2018


by Richard E. Dennis

The American Horse Industry, Avoiding the Pitfalls by Rick Dennis.

While growing up in Alabama in the 1950s, my grand father always stressed these four premises to live by:  “Always put GOD first in your life, have the GUTS to take on life and live successfully, keep a GUN handy in case you need it and always pay your TAXES.”

Paying taxes is a phrase resonating with every working American this time of the year simply due to the fact April 15 is the time we either file our taxes or file for an extension. Like the old adage, “There are two certainties in life: Death and Taxes!”  No one gets out alive and with new tax laws, Uncle Sam can and will tax you in the grave.

However, there are steps we can take to minimize the amount of taxes we pay by simply taking advantage of the built-in deductions and write offs included in the IRS tax code.

In my opinion, one fact of certainty is: “The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seems to hate horses.”  In my book THE AMERICAN HORSE INDUSTRY, Avoiding The Pitfalls, I devoted an entire chapter to identifying whether your horse operation is a business or a hobby. One of the included items in this book is a chapter that stresses the importance of determining whether or not your horse operation is a business or a hobby as well as other necessary factors to successfully survive an IRS or State audit of your horse operation and yourself.



In June 2016, I opened a new bank account at Chase Bank in Covington, Louisiana.  According to the information supplied by the bank officer who opened my account, new Federal and State tax regulations and laws require the financial institution to be the first line of defense in identifying fraudulent money laundering or illegal operations by account holders. Essentially, the bank opens your account with the information you supply them including providing your name, social security number, business name and business Tax Identification Number (TIN), along with a copy of your completed financial questionnaire to Federal and State taxing agencies for verification, authentication of your citizenship and to check for any outstanding tax bills, liens, etc.

Further, the brief financial questionnaire generally encompasses annual income, expenses, net profits for a given period, tax filings, assets and liabilities. In essence, and in my opinion, this is used for a comparison by the Federal and State taxing agencies to perform a brief audit of prior tax filings to determine the accuracy of your prior tax reports, among other items of interest. According to the Chase Bank officer, this is a requirement to open a bank account with Chase Bank. No completed financial questionnaire = no bank account!


Maintaining Immaculate Financial Records:

Another aspect stressed in my book is the importance of maintaining immaculate financial records for both your personal and business financial reporting. For the record, I’m in the horse business and I file a Schedule C, along with my personal 1040, which represents my Limited Liability Company’s financial records. In my case and after opening the bank account, I received an arbitrary tax assessment from the State of Louisiana for a tax bill of $41,589.73 for the 2015 year.

Knowing that I didn’t owe the proposed tax liability, I contacted the Louisiana Department of Revenue and inquired about the certified letter I had received and I was informed that an unnamed source had provided to the State that I made $701,400.00 in 2015. I informed the State of Louisiana tax representative that the figure she quoted me was more than my gross annual income. In fact, it was a well-documented and IRS-approved 20-year “carry-forward casualty loss” from Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.

However, I was told I had two choices: 1) Protest the arbitrary assessment through the tax process or 2) pay the amount assessed plus interest and penalty.

If I did not file an objection, I would also be assessed a taxable amount by the IRS to include interest and penalties. The worst that could happen if I didn’t address this scenario is: I would be charged with tax evasion, my bank accounts would be seized, tax liens would be filed on my property and I would face prosecution.

I elected to fight the proposed tax liability and requested a hearing. On the day of the hearing, I represented myself “in-proper-person,” essentially meaning I was my own lawyer. This is not a recommendation that I would make to everyone.

I figured that since I knew my tax records better than anyone, I would be the best person to explain my case at the hearing. On hearing day, I was armed with my Federal and State tax filings from 2005 forward, which completely documented the $769,000.00 20-year carry-forward loss as well as the very well documented IRS approval of the loss. At the hearing I explained, that whoever their “erroneous source” was, he or she failed to recognize that there was a minus sign in the front of my 2015 tax filing amount and the -$701,400.00 carry forward to my 2016 tax year had a minus sign, not a plus sign. Therefore, the amount was a loss and not income.



On Jan. 2, 2018 I received a letter from the Louisiana Department of Revenue dated December 29, 2017 stating, “The outstanding liability for the above referenced period(s) has been cancelled based on the information provided. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.”

Over all, we all have to pay taxes.  My suggestion to all readers of this article is to keep and maintain immaculate financial records with every annual tax filing. I keep all of my annual tax filings instead of merely the three years suggested by the IRS.  If I hadn’t had all of my tax filings readily at hand, the outcome of this saga might have resulted in an ominous ending.

Click for tax letter from state of Louisiana>>


Another Happy Ending:

Recently I received a Federal Tax ruling entitled UNITED STATES TAX COURT, Finis R. Welch and Linda J. Waite – Petitioners Versus Commissioner of Internal Revenue – Respondent.  This tax ruling is an extremely good read and involves another individual in the cutting horse industry which resulted in the cancellation of millions of dollars in proposed tax liabilities due to their immaculate records retention.

Click for Stunning Tax Court Victory>>

Click for Center Ranch Tax Ruling>>

Certified Public Accountant (CPA):

For the record, I’m not a certified public accountant. However, I’ve been in business for 33 years with a 48-year professional background including: Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions, Forensic Audit, Risk Management and a 19-year history as a professional in the horse business but I highly recommend the incorporation of a certified public accountant in your life to formulate your tax filings.


Determining Whether You’re A Business Or A Hobby:

The key to operating a successful horse business is to determine whether you’re in the horse business for fun or to make a profit as a business owner doing something you love. If the former is your answer, go have fun. If the latter is your answer and you’ve decided to enter the equine industry as a business owner, then I suggest you perform a self evaluation of your proposed or existing business to determine if all of your bases are covered: For example:

1. What is your business entity: a Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Sole-Owned Proprietorship, Partnership, etc.,?

2. Does your business have its own Federal Tax Identification Number (which you should have), or are you using your social security number for this?

3. How are your bank accounts set up? In order to avoid the “co-mingling of Funds Rule,” i.e., mixing personal non-business funds with business funds, you need to have separate bank accounts: one for your personal and one for your business.

4. If your business is like mine, where I receive checks in the mail for services rendered as well as cash payments, are you incorporating the use of a cash book to keep track of these funds, especially if you aren’t depositing the cash in the bank?  If not, I suggest you incorporate one and each time you spend from this “stash of cash,” make a record of it along with maintaining a receipt for spent funds.

5. Are your accounting books immaculate? If not, seek the advice of a Certified Public Accountant to assist you in this matter.

6. Does your horse business have a written “Business Plan?”  If not, I suggest you consult with a Certified Public Account and write one.  Essentially, your business plan is your survivability insurance in the event of audit.  After the key phrase used by the auditors is, “Are you in business to make a profit?”

7. “Intent To Make A Profit” is your key phrase you should memorize in all of your business affairs. During an audit, this separates you and your horse business from being identified as a hobby versus a viable business. It’s OK not to make a profit if you truly intended to make a profit during an annual period. However, you need to consult with a Certified Public Accountant to further explain this aspect of the tax code.

In setting up your business, always show an intent to make a profit by using advertising. I suggest to all business owners that they should have a web site to promote their business on the internet. Also, it’s an impressive marketing tool for prospective clients to evaluate your services.

An immaculate and accurate set of books will allow your tax preparer to utilize all of the items available to you as a business owner to minimize the amount of taxes you pay during an annual tax filing cycle as well as a defense in the event of a tax audit.

“Until Next Time, Keep Em Between The Bridle!”


Richard E. “Rick” Dennis

Managing Member

Phone: (985) 630-3500


Email – Personal:

Web Site:



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☛ South Point Hotel & Casino owner gives employees $1M bonus due to tax reform bill – 1-5-18



Press release from Joyce Lupiani
Jan. 5, 2018

The Las Vegas South Point Hotel and Casino owner Michael Gaughan, has announced that he will be giving employees an extra $1M this year because of President Donald Trump’s tax reform bill.

“Las Vegas has experienced a significant amount of growth over the past few years and this tax reform will continue to drive the economy of the city,” said Gaughan. “The new bill will  have a monumental effect on our economy and, in turn, our property. We want to be sure that our extended family is taken care of.”

Gaughan also said that employee bonuses will also double this year, In addition, he is rescinding the price increase for employee health insurance,

The South Point is located on Las Vegas Boulevard, a couple of miles south of the Las Vegas Strip. The property is known for its equestrian event facility and also has a multi-million dollar professional bowling tournament facility.

The Gaughan family has been instrumental in the development of Las Vegas. Jackie Gaughan, Michael’s father was an early owner and is best-known for his ownership of the El Cortez in Downtown Las Vegas. Jackie Gaughan also owned the Las Vegas Club and The Plaza.

Michael Gaughan is also the former owner of a NASCAR team and the main sponsor of the 2018 NASCAR Cup playoff race. Michael is also the operator of the slot machines at McCaran International Airport.

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☛ Horse slaughter plant in Canada closed due to EU regulations 1-4-18




Jan. 4, 2018

Horse slaughter is a very emotional topic and one only has to read the remarks following each horse slaughter article to see that there are two distinct and emotional sides to the slaughter of horses. While there has been a constant battle to reopen slaughter plants in the United States, forcing dealers to take the horses to slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada.

However, the European Union has basically solved the problem for us as far as slaughter plants in Canada are concerned. New European Union regulations have caused the Canadian slaughterhouse, located in Saint Andre-Avelin, Quebec, to temporarily close due to the new rules regarding horse slaughter, which states that before the  horses are slaughtered, they must be held at a feedlot in Canada for at least six months before they can be slaughtered.

As a result, the Canada slaughterhouse has not collapsed but have had to find a solution as fast as they can. The slaughterhouse had to lay off 60 workers and close as it is economically not feasible to feed horses in a feedlot for six months before they are slaughtered.

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☛ Tax reform to benefit farmers and ranchers 1-4-18



Jan. 4, 2018

According to Zippy Duvall, the President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, “The tax reform package passed by Congress this week will result in lower taxes for the vast majority of farmers and ranchers. This tax overhaul includes many changes to the tax code, most notably lower individual tax rates that will benefit farmers and ranchers. Ninety-four percent of farmers and ranchers pay taxes as individuals and those rates are coming down. The bill also maintains all of the important deductions and credits that farmers rely on. So, thanks to a lot of hard work by Congress and the administration, farmers will have both lower rates and all the tools they’ve always had to manage their businesses.

“Starting next year, farmers and ranchers will also be able to take a 20 percent deduction off their business income. That’s new, and it will reduce the taxes farmers owe. The bill also doubles the estate tax exemption to $11 million per person, which will provide relief to the vast majority of farmers and ranchers. We look forward to President Trump signing this bill. Most of the provisions in this tax bill are temporary, lasting for only seven years, so Farm Bureau will now focus our work on making those important tax deductions, lower rates and the estate tax exemption permanent.”

According to Michael Clements of the American Farm Bureau Federation, “Congress is providing farmers and ranchers with a last-minute holiday gift: lower taxes in the future. A tax code overhaul passed by both the House and the Senate this week makes many changes to the tax code that will benefit farmers and ranchers.

New to the tax code, the bill includes a deduction for business income. Also, the estate tax, long opposed by the Farm Bureau, should no longer be a factor for most farmers and ranchers following changes to the estate tax exemption.

American Farm Bureau Federation tax specialist Pat Wolff says the bill includes lower individual tax rates.  “We know that 94 percent of farmers and ranchers pay taxes as individuals and the one tax rates are coming down. The bill also maintains all of the important deductions and credits that farmers rely on. So, farmers have all the tools that they’ve always had to manage their business.

“Starting next year, farmers and ranchers will be able to take a 20 percent deduction of their business income. So if they made $200, they’ll be able to take a $2 deduction. That’s new and will also help reduce the taxes that are owed.

“The bill doubles the estate tax exemption to $11 million per person. At that level, the vast majority of farmers and ranchers won’t have to worry about the estate tax anymore. Most of the provisions are temporary, they only last for seven years. So starting this year, Farm Bureau will be working to make those  important tax deductions the lower rates and the estate tax exemption permanent.”

Also, a recently introduced bill would continue several expired tax provisions important to farmers and ranchers. Offered by the Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Uah), the Tax Extenders Act of 2017 (S.2256) would extend several tax credits biodiesel, renewable energy and for short line railroads. Most of the credits expired in 2016.

In a recent letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to pass legislation extending these key provisions, the American Farm Bureau Federation and more than 55 other organizations explained that these expired provisions impact sectors vital to the U.S. economy and support tens of thousands of jobs nationwide.

“Acting to extend these expired tax provisions will allow businesses and individuals to make important planning decisions. Allowing these provisions to remain lapsed creates confusion in the marketplace and effectively increases taxes on entities that create jobs and economic growth,” the groups wrote.

House and Senate tax writing committees are expected to work on tax extenders in January.

  • The Tax Extenders Act of 2017 would continue the following Farm Bureau-supported tax provisions, most of which expired in 2016, for 2017 and 2018:
  • The $1.01-per-gallon income tax credit for cellulosic biofuel
    The $1.00-per-gallon biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credits for biodiesel and blending biodiesel
  • The 10-cents-per-gallon Small Agri-Biodiesel Producer Credit
  • The $1.00-per-gallon biodiesel excise tax credit that can be taken against fuel taxes The 30-percent investment tax credit for installing alternative vehicle refueling property
  • The 2.3 cents-per-kilowatt hour Production Tax Credit for energy from closed-loop biomass and the 1.2 cent-per-kilowatt- hour credit for closed-loop biomass
  • The option of taking an investment tax credit in lieu of Production Tax Credit (Currently, it’s 24 percent for 2017, 18 percent for 2018, 12 percent for 2019 and expires in 2020.)
  • The investment tax credit for installation costs of facilities that produce electricity from wind (Currently, it’s 24 percent for 2017, 18 percent for 2018, 12 percent for 2019 and expires in 2020.)
  • The Distributed Wind Investment Tax Credit for electricity production facilities The 50-percent Railroad Track Maintenance Credit for short line railroads
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