08/12/2009 11:00PM

Monmouth has new standards for whips, toe grabs


Monmouth Park will initiate new policies on whips and toe grabs starting Wednesday, the track announced Thursday.

The new crops, mandatory at Del Mar since Wednesday, replace the old stiff leather whips that sometimes inflicted welts and cuts. The newer whips are made of softer or padded material and emit a popping sound, designed to motivate the horse to run from the whip, rather than from the pain of physical punishment.

Monmouth riders have been experimenting with the new whips in the day's last race since July 8.

Toe grabs of up to four millimeters will be permitted on front shoes in dirt races.

The old standard of four millimeters was shortened to two at the start of this meet. The most noticeable impact was an increased number of horses stumbling at the break.

The reversion to four millimeters applies only to front shoes. No traction devices can be used by horses running on the turf.