CHRB agenda calls for 'discussion and action' on proposed whip rule

November 09, 2019 02:21pm
The California Horse Racing Board has scheduled its next meeting for Thursday, Nov. 21, with one agenda item in particular figuring to spawn some lively debate.

Item No. 19 calls for "discussion and action" on CHRB Rule 1688, Use of Riding Crop. Originally advanced to a public comment period during the CHRB's March meeting, the rule would ban 
any use of the whip “except when necessary to control the horse for the safety of the horse or rider.”

The proposal was amended to state that only a jockey would be penalized for violating the rule; it would not lead to a potential change in the order of finish of the race.

Current whip rules allow jockeys to strike a horse three times in succession before they're require to let the mount respond to encouragement.

This will mark the CHRB's first meeting in two months, as the October session ahead of the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park was canceled.

Since a spate of equine fatalities became national news earlier this year at Santa Anita, animal rights activists have called for a complete ban of the whip, among other requests for the injury with safety top of mind. Those calls were renewed last weekend after Grade 1 winner Mongolian Groom broke down in the stretch of the Breeders' Cup Classic while under urging from his rider.

“People inside racing might think that not striking a horse is a radical move, but the public, as you’ve just been discussing, sees it as visible and obvious cruelty,” PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo said at that March CHRB meeting. “The public may not follow the ins and outs of Lasix use, but they see horses dying and they see horses being hit. … The racing industry is constantly talking about improving its image to the public. Well, you can’t do that if you keep whipping horses who supposedly love to run.”

Guillermo, after Mongolian Groom's injury, said in a statement, that “we will not tolerate another mangled horse," again mentioning the whip ban.

The CHRB meeting, to be held at Del Mar, is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. PT.


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