New York governor vetoes rule change for married jockeys

New York governor vetoes rule change for married jockeys
Photo: NYRA Photo

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has vetoed legislation that would have undone the state's rule that married jockeys must be coupled in races.

As the Daily Racing Form reported, Hochul said the rule should remain in place. “The rule applies neutrally to all jockeys, without regard to gender, and is intended to enhance the wagering public’s confidence in the integrity of a race,” she said. “Coupling of entries does not prevent related parties from participating in a race; rather, coupling of entries merely aggregates those related parties into a single betting interest in the race.”

Hochul also said she will ask the New York Racing Commission to review the rule to assess the “continued need for mandatory coupling and the circumstances under which such a requirement might be relaxed.”

The rule has been in effect for years, but it became an issue in January amid reports that jockeys Trevor McCarthy and Katie Davis, who recently had married, would have their entries coupled when they race against each other.

At the time, Terry Meyocks, president and CEO of the Jockeys’ Guild, told Horse Racing Nation that the rule "absolutely" needed to be changed.

“What we’re saying is it should be at the discretion of the stewards. If something’s not kosher, like anybody else, they should be fined or penalized.”

Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, co-chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild board of directors, agreed.

“With today’s technology and the way we do things, it’s a dumb rule, really,” he said. “And it hurts business more than anything else. It hurts racing more than anything else.”

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