JC / Railbird

Jockeys

Three Strikes and a Pause

California’s new whip rules are in effect after much prep:

The CHRB said the effort has involved a review of racing videos and informing jockeys when their actions would have incurred a penalty under the impending rule. “Stewards report that jockeys are now in substantial compliance,” the CHRB said.

7/3/15 Update: More on the implementation of the new whip rules:

“It’s honestly going to help riders in general,” Van Dyke said. “If you go rapid-fire, like hit a horse four times quick, your horse tends to drift more. The whip rule will make the rider focus more on staying straight. I think it’s great.”

7/4/15 Update: Two riders fined for violations.

Taral’s Tattoo

Joe Palmer, writing in Names on Pedigrees, on the great racehorse and prepotent sire Domino (1891-1897) and his jockey:

Domino has his first outing at the Gravesend track at Brooklyn, in a five-furlong 2-year-old sweepstakes. Fred Taral, who rode the colt in all but one of his 25 races, and who was one of the most powerful “whip riders” of all time, was in the saddle. Domino broke in front, led all the way to win by six lengths from Fonso and Patrician …

Taral, whose contract had been bought for $10,000, hammered a terrific tattoo on Domino on several occasions, and the horse, sensibly enough, came to hate him, tried to savage him whenever possible. Toward the end of the horse’s racing career, according to Foxhall Keene, a blanket had to be thrown over the colt’s head before Taral could mount.

(This passage jumped out as I was looking something up in Pedigrees today, a lingering after-effect of this year’s Kentucky Derby whip discussion.)

Circling

The best-case scenario is that the commissioners table it or just say ‘no’ in a formal vote,” said trainer Bill Lagorio of Suffolk Downs’ application to run three live racing days this year, which is pending before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. That might be taking for granted the money set aside for Thoroughbred racing in the state’s Race Horse Development Fund.

Tammi Piermarini, a five-time leading rider at Suffolk Downs and the third-winningest female jockey in racing, has moved on to Parx. Her book is being handled by a name familiar to New England fans — former rider Joe Hampshire has signed on as Piermarini’s agent. Her services are in demand, reports the jockey, and she and her family have settled in well at their new home.

House Rule

Relevant Belmont Stakes-eve information on whip use via the New York Times:

In New York, the state issues a fine or penalty for excessive use of the whip. But since 2010, racing stewards have also enforced a house rule of no more than five strikes in succession, with a pause of two or three strides to see if the horse responds.

When a rider violates the rule, one of the tan wall phones in the jockeys’ locker room will ring, Dr. Hill said, and the call will go out: “Movies for Jockey A tomorrow” — meaning a violation was caught on film, and the jockey will be given a $500 fine that will go to a track-related charity.

Retired jockey and NYRA analyst Richard Migliore says he’d like to see a whip rule that goes beyond the soon-to-be implemented California guidelines: “one strike of the whip, then wait a few strides to see if the horse responds.”

Case-by-Case

Daniel Ross reports on how horse racing is handling domestic violence:

Unlike the NFL, where the sport’s awesome revenue-generating capacity appears to be a driving factor behind their decision to initially go easy on Rice, horse racing is perceived as a different sort of beast, the close-knit confines of the racetrack and the familial atmosphere it can foster seem to have a noticeable impact on the way in which jockeys charged or convicted with domestic violence are treated within the sport.

In 2010 for example, Albarado’s mounts garnered over $10m in collected earnings. In 2011, the year of his first domestic abuse charges, his mounts earned a little over half that. In 2012, his business had been more than halved. The past two years, however, have seen a gradual uptick in his earnings once more, though not to 2010 levels.

California is leading on the issue, just by talking about it.

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