Archive for Jockey

Is The Whip Barbaric and Unnecessary?

This week’s LET IT RIDE.COM HOT TOPIC comes from Rex Jory of AdelaideNow…take a read and VOICE AN OPINION!

It’s time to phase out the barbaric use of whips in horse racing

THE use of whips should be quietly phased out of Australian horse racing.

Cracking a horse with a whip is, by definition, painful – although I don’t subscribe to the view of some extremists that it is barbaric or unnecessarily cruel.

Whipping gives thoroughbred racing a bad image.

I class myself as a casual race follower.

Like so many, my flower of interest blooms during the Victorian Spring carnival.

Slow motion cameras make it impossible to ignore the use of whips in racing.

The television images of winning Melbourne Cup jockey, Brett Prebble, urging his mount, Green Moon, to the finishing line last Tuesday were superb.

Prebble gave Green Moon a couple of hefty clouts to the rump with his whip in the last 200m.

Then we saw his dancing fingers cleverly change the grip on the whip as he crossed the line.

What concerned me was not the mere act of smacking a magnificent animal.

It was the perception the action had on the television audience.

Many people watching the Melbourne Cup on television are novices to racing.

They rarely, if ever, attend a race meeting and probably don’t have 10 bets a year. Some will be young. Children watch the Melbourne Cup.

A small number, at least, could be seduced by the excitement and romance of racing.

They are a potential audience, part of the future of racing.

But it’s worth pondering how many will be put off by the ugly images of horses being flogged by whips?

What was acceptable, even condoned, 20 or 30 years ago is not necessarily acceptable today.

If someone flogged a dog in the same way jockeys whip horses they would be prosecuted.

Presumably jockeys whip horses to make them go faster. Horses run faster because the whip stings.

If whipping horses doesn’t hurt, then why do it?

There are very few sports or entertainments other than horse racing and horse eventing where animals are any longer deliberately beaten for pleasure or benefit.

Dignified society no longer tolerates standing bears on hot metal plates to make them “dance”.

Nor does it allow bears to fight dogs in pits, dog or cock fighting, live-hare coursing or fox hunting, to name a few of the crueller pastimes.

Circuses are now under increasing pressure to dispense with live animals acts including lions and elephants and zoos have become the source of breeding programs to save endangered species rather than being just an opportunity to gawk at caged animals.

To be fair to the Australian Racing Board and the broader industry, strict controls on the use of whips were introduced in August, 2009.

Padded whips are now mandatory, the whipping arm cannot be raised above the shoulder, whips should not be used if there is no prospect of improving a horse’s placing, and a whip cannot be used more than five times before the 200m mark and after that point not in consecutive strides.

Announcing the restrictions, the then-chairman of the Australian Racing Board, Bob Bentley, said: “The best scientific advice available to us says that padded whips do not inflict pain or injury and that is the outcome we want.”

So why does the racing industry persist with the use of whips?

If whipping doesn’t hurt then presumably it does not affect the performance of a horse.

A survey by the RSPCA found that a whip caused a “visual indentation” on the horse in 83 per cent of impacts, the unpadded section of the whip made contact in 64 per cent of impacts, and more than 75 per cent of the time when used the whip struck the horse in the abdomen, not the rump.

Whipping horses may be part of the romance and tradition of horse racing. But it can no longer be justified in 2012.

Whips should be phased out of horse racing in Australia and the sooner the better.


California Jockey Now Has 66 Unserved Suspension Days…When Is Enough Actually Enough?

This week’s Let It HOT TOPIC comes from Steve Andersen of Daily Racing Form…take a read and VOICE AN OPINION!


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Jockey Christian Santiago Reyes received two suspensions earlier this week for causing interference during recent races at Fairplex Park, and has amassed 66 days of unserved penalties since May.

The champion apprentice jockey of 2009, Reyes has been the subject of nine penalties from track stewards since May, ranging from two three-day penalties for causing interference to a 30-day penalty issued earlier this month for “weighing out with a prohibited item in his possession” at Hollywood Park in June. He has served one suspension, a three-day ban for causing interference at Del Mar.

Reyes, 21, recently received decisions by the California Horse Racing Board on two suspensions that were appealed.

Last week, acting on the opinions of designated appellate judge Steffan Imhoff, who heard the appeals, the racing board upheld Reyes’s three-day suspension for causing interference in the fourth race at Hollywood Park on May 19 and reduced a 10-day suspension to a five-day suspension for appearing to grab the reins of a rival jockey near the finish line of the second race at Hollywood Park on May 12. Dates for those suspensions have not been issued.

At Fairplex Park, Reyes was given a three-day suspension by stewards Darrel McHargue, Jon White and Randy Winick for causing interference in the fourth race on Sept. 25 aboard Love Five Plus Two. He was given a five-day suspension for causing interference aboard Michailasheartlite in the 10th race on Monday.

Because of the large number of days of unserved penalties, the Fairplex Park stewards ordered Reyes suspended Dec. 11-12 and Dec. 15 for the three-day penalty and from Dec. 16-19 and Dec. 26 for the five-day penalty.