11/19/2014 6:21PM

California restricts whip use by jockeys


The California Horse Racing Board passed a rule on Wednesday limiting jockeys to three consecutive strikes with a whip before they must pause to allow a horse to respond.

The rule is expected to take effect in coming weeks, and will be in place for both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races. In recent months, racing board officials held meetings with owners and trainers and the Jockey’s Guild to discuss the issue.

A jockey found in violation would face sanction, most likely a fine.

“This is an important issue,” racing board chairman Chuck Winner said. “We are making every effort, working with the industry, to try to do what we can to protect the integrity of this sport and the horses and the riders. It’s a long time coming, and it’s a big step in my view.”

Darrell Haire of the Jockeys’ Guild said he has met with Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred riders in recent weeks and months to discuss the new rule.

“We feel comfortable with what we’ve come up with,” he told the board. “It’s a change and the riders have adapted. It’s all really about perception. It looks bad when a rider keeps after the horse. It doesn’t look good.”

Santa Anita considered adopting a similar rule for its autumn meeting from late September to early November, but delayed implementation until the racing board considered a statewide rule.

In other developments at Wednesday’s meeting, the racing board announced plans to review rules used for deciding what constitutes interference and merits a disqualification following the controversial running of the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.

In the BC Classic, Santa Anita stewards conducted an inquiry into whether race winner Bayern should have been disqualified for interfering with favored Shared Belief shortly after the start. The stewards ruled that the incident happened early enough in the race over 1 1/4 miles that it did not cost Shared Belief an opportunity for a better placing.

The decision was the subject of widespread debate.

“We looked at the rules in every other jurisdiction to see where our rules differed from theirs,” Winner said. “There are no jurisdictions where a foul is a foul. We look at this as if there are judgment calls that have to be made.

“There were a number of people who were not in accord with the decision,” Winner said. “No matter what decision they made, they would have been wrong. They made the decision based on the rules. It’s a tough job. If there is a problem, the problem is with the rule.”

During the three-hour meeting held at Del Mar, the racing board approved two-year licenses for the account wagering providers Lien Games Racing, TVG, TwinSpires, Watch and Wager, and Xpressbet, contingent on the completion of outstanding documents such as horsemen’s agreements.

Discussion on licenses for account wagering providers lasted nearly two hours after several firms were taken to task for failing to consistently and accurately report handle figures to a California racetrack accounting service. Executives with account wagering firms and the accounting service disputed each other’s levels of cooperation in the reporting and accuracy of data.



Erv Pofelski More than 1 year ago
I see jockeys have a 10 length lead with a 16th to go and they still are whipping , After a few hits they are giving their all anyways. you can only run so fast.
Randall More than 1 year ago
You're all idiots! This type of bumping happens all the time at the start of a race. A mile and a quarter is plenty of time for a horse to adjust and improve its position in a race. No jockey has complete control of a horse at the immediate start of a race. And incidentally, I bet on Shared Belief! And what's with the guy just below me who thinks Shared Belief should have been disqualified???
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Randall More than 1 year ago
In a sprint race I might agree with you, but not at a mile and a quarter. If the horse was good enough, the jockey skillful enough, there is plenty of time to make up the ground, but he kept the horse down on the inside where there wasn't enough room to maneuver and it cost him the race. I've seen bumping worse than that where no change was made. What needs to be done is to have a set of rule NATIONALLY that all stewards must adhere to. Clear rules, not left open to interpretation! Then there would be no more complaining and speculation. As it is right now it varies from state to state, track to track. Perhaps this is just the impetus they need to get down to brass tacks and fix it!
Bob More than 1 year ago
Shared Belief SHOULD have been disqualified...any serious racing fan who has been following the sport for any length of times knows that this is true and they know that any other horse, in any other race, on any other day, WOULD have been taken down if they had caused the same kind of interference. I don't care what point in the race it occurred! The decision not to take his number down was political and anyone who follows the sports knows it was political! Bob Baffert and Kaleem Shah, Inc. simply had more political clout that Jerry Hollendorfer and Jungle Racing and for a guy as outspoken as Jim Rome likes to pass himself off as being, I am somewhat surprised that he hasn't raised more hell about the situation than he has and frankly, I have lost a certain amount of respect for JR as a result....I guess old "Romey" isn't as much of a smash-mouth as his radio persona would lead us to believe?
Bob More than 1 year ago
That would be Bayern, who should have been DQ'ed....
Raymond Hackinson More than 1 year ago
I wouldn't have played Bayern even at a generous 6/1. Having lost on him when he finished last as the 2/1 favorite I said 'No Mas' Garcia knew the chance he was taking by blowing out the field at the start It could have backfired big time but I think Baffert took the big chance and got the brass ring.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Baffert, Garcia & Company couldn't have wished for a better set-up.....a one dimensional speed horse, in a field with some serious heat to his inside, competing in the biggest race of his career, crashes into the competition one jump out of the gate causing a chain reaction that eliminates not one, but BOTH of his rivals on the front-end!....And then the awestruck stewards in the press box are too gutless to take the offending horse down due to the potential political and public relations implications that might result if Bayern had been DQ'ed.
Ronel Rolen More than 1 year ago
Excellent "cop out" by stewards saying they were just going by the rule and it's a rule problem as no matter how it was decided someone would be upset. They did get they right--don't upset the Baffert interests and although the betting public was about 98% in favor of a take down as anyone of sound mind could see how egregious the foul was except Baffert interests and lackey stewards who were just serving their master no matter how pathetic there gutless decision still doesn't set well with overwhelming majority of racing fans.
Mark More than 1 year ago
I think the word "whip" is part of the problem, especially to the public that doesn't follow racing.The more militant animal rights groups will never be happy until all racing is banned, so little attention should be paid to them.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
This rule is nonsensical. Just put a whip limit per race at 7-8 whips per, and the jocks can still adjust, and use the stick to get their horse home accordingly. Twice this year O'Brien has been banned for 7 days for exceeding the whip rule in the Ascot Gold Cup on Leading Light, and a handicap race later on the same card.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
Or it was 4 days ban for the Gold cup ride, and 3 days for the rule infraction in the Handicap race later in the day. Either way he was caught twice, and banned accordingly. The horse will not be taken down, but the rider will think twice, having to leave 7 race days worth of purse money on the table for some one else.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Will the charts show how many times a horse was hit.You can't hit them but run them in 100 degree weather is o.k.
Brian Smith More than 1 year ago
II dont play the CAL big times because I work but I do play Los Al and the stewards always view it as "did the interference cost the offended runners a chance for a better placing" I feel it was obvious that when that #7 came out of the gate those on his inside were caused a chance at a better placing, and my 94 year old dad felt the same thing, and we ALSO agree with a prior poster that it almost seemed like the Stewards are intimidated by Baffert.
D'Funnybone More than 1 year ago
Another moronic move by the CHRB. Remember when they sanctioned ALL So. Cal. tracks to install synthetic surfaces by a certain date, or lose those racing dates? How did that work out? Without 1 (ONE!) comprehensive study on synthetic surfaces being done on this side of the Atlantic, the CHRB MANDATED that all main racing venues in So. Cal. install these surfaces or be stripped of racing dates? How do these board members keep their jobs? Is there no shame? Disgraceful. Pathetic.