Gulfstream Park Issues New ‘House Rules’ Regarding Riding Crop Usage – Horse Racing News

Gulfstream Park Issues New ‘House Rules’ Regarding Riding Crop Usage – Horse Racing News

Following an agreement between 1/ST Racing’s Gulfstream Park, the Jockeys’ Guild and the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., began to institute new house rules regarding the usage of riding crops, effective Aug. 6.

Among the changes is a limit of six overhand strikes in the final three furlongs of a race, with no more than two strikes in succession. Riders must then give their mount a chance to respond before using the crop again. There is no numeric limit to backhand strikes in the final three furlongs of a race or shoulder taps with the crop in the down position and both hands of the jockey on the reins.

Gulfstream issued a statement on behalf of the track’s owner, reading: “The updated crop usage rules reflect 1/ST Racing’s ongoing commitment to safety, integrity and accountability in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing.”

Following are the new crop rules for racing at Gulfstream Park:

 Use of Riding Crop

(1) Although the use of a riding crop is not required, a jockey who uses a riding crop during a race shall do so only in a manner consistent with exerting his or her best efforts to win.

(2) In any race in which a jockey will ride without a riding crop, an announcement of that fact shall be made over the public address system.

(3) An electrical or mechanical device or other expedient designed to increase or retard the speed of a horse, other than a riding crop approved by the stewards, shall not be possessed by anyone, or applied by anyone to a horse at any time at a location under the jurisdiction of the racing commission.

(4) A riding crop shall not be used on a 2-year-old horse in races before April 1 of each year.

(5) Allowable uses of a riding crop include the following:

(a) The riding crop may be used at any time, without penalty, if, in the opinion of the stewards, the riding crop is used to avoid a dangerous situation or preserve the safety of other riders or horses in a race;

(b) Use of the riding crop in the overhand fashion for a total of six times from the 3/8th pole to the finish line, only to be used two times in succession and then must give a horse a chance to respond.

(c) If necessary during a race, a riding crop may be used in a backhanded fashion on the hindquarters from the 3/8th pole to the finish line. This use will not be counted toward the use of the crop six times in the overhand fashion.

(d) Tapping the horse on the shoulder with the crop in the down position, while both hands are holding onto the reins and both hands are touching the neck of the horse; and

(e) Showing or waving the crop without contact with the horse and giving the horse time to respond before striking the horse.

(6) Use of the riding crop to make contact with a horse to maintain focus and concentration, to control the horse for safety of the horse and rider, or to encourage a horse is allowed, with the following exceptions:

(a) In any manner, other than backhanded on the hindquarters as set forth in Paragraph (5)(c), tapping on the shoulder as set forth in Paragraph (5)(d), or resulting in more than six times in the overhand manner as set forth in Paragraph (5)(b);

(b) The riding crop shall not be used more than twice in succession and the horse must be given a chance to respond before using it again;

i. “Chance to respond” is defined as one of the following actions by a jockey:

1. Pausing the use of the riding crop on their horse before resuming again; or

2. Pushing on their horse with a rein in each hand, keeping the riding crop in the up or down position; or

3. Showing the horse the riding crop without making contact; or

4. Moving the riding crop from one hand to the other.

(c) With the rider’s wrist above helmet height;

(d) On the head, flanks, or on any other part of its body other than the shoulders or hindquarters;

(e) During the post parade or after the finish of the race except if necessary to control the horse;

(f) Excessive or brutal use of the crop causing injury to the horse;

(g) Causing welts or breaks in the skin;

(h) If the horse is clearly out of the race or has obtained its maximum placing; and

(i) If the horse is showing no response.

(7) A riding crop shall not be used to strike another person.

(8) After the race, a horse will be subject to inspection by a racing official or official veterinarian looking for cuts, welts, or bruises in the skin. Any adverse findings shall be reported to the stewards.

(9) Use of the crop during workouts shall be permitted so long as such use does not violate section 6(c) through (i).

(10) The giving of instructions by any licensee that, if obeyed, would lead to a violation of this section may result in disciplinary action also being taken against the licensee who gave the instructions.

(11) Only padded/shock absorbing riding crops approved by the stewards, which have not been modified in any way, may be carried in a race.

(12) During a race, if a jockey rides in a manner contrary to this rule, at the stewards’ discretion, the stewards may impose a minimum fine ($250 for overnight race; $500 for stakes races) or a suspension.  If in the opinion of the stewards the violation is egregious or intentional, the stewards have the discretion to impose both a fine and a suspension. Factors in determining whether a violation is egregious include, but are not limited to:

(a) recent history of similar violations;

(b) number of uses over the total and consecutive limits described; and

(c) using the crop in the overhanded position more than six times.

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