New Jersey Racing Commission Is Seeking to Ban Whips

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The New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC) has approved several law changes that were proposed during its meeting at Monmouth Park, the NJ racetrack. The proposals are all designed to ensure more safety within the horse racing industry in the state. Among the proposed changes is the proposal to ban the use of a riding crop on thoroughbreds.

The New Jersey Racing Commission and the New Jersey Attorney General issued a joint press release that announced, in part, the following anti-whip rule proposal:

“The proposed rule on use of a riding crop in Thoroughbred racing would ban any use of the crop by jockeys and exercise riders to make a horse run faster.”

This could be “the country’s most stringent whip-rule in thoroughbred racing,” reports the Thoroughbred Daily News.

Can a crop be used at all?

The only time that a riding crop will be used is if there is an emergency and to avoid injury to the rider and the horse. 

The use of a whip on standardbreds will be limited and under very restricted circumstances.

Rules of the new proposed law

According to the proposal, both horse jockeys and exercise riders will be banned from using the crop to make horses run faster.

When used in an emergency by jockeys and exercise riders who are trying to control a horse to prevent an injury, only the soft tube part of the riding crop can be used on the horse.

Parts of the horse the soft tube part of a crop may be used

When the soft tube part of the crop is used, it can only be used on the hindquarters or the shoulders of the horse. 

No part of the riding crop can be used on the horse’s head or flanks – not even the soft part of the crop.

Crop rules

The rule also specifies what the legal limit of the length, diameter, and weight of the riding crop should be. 

As well as the measurements, the rule also describes the characteristics of the crop. According to the rule, the crop should have a smooth grip, and no raised surfaces or protrusions. The shaft should be covered completely with shock-absorbing material.

Number of times the crop can be used

The rule gets more complex, with a legal limit of times a whip can be used, which is no more than three times in succession. The horse should be given a chance to respond.  

Post a race, visual inspections will be conducted on the horses to ensure they have not been injured or there are no marks from the whipping.

Right now, there are a lot of questions regarding why this no-whipping rule came about, how commissioners voted for the ban, and information around the timetable for public comment and a final vote. However, this could have a big impact on the online horse betting market.

According to the New Jersey Racing Commission website, nine commissioners are meant to be seated on the board. However, right now, only four commissioners have been appointed, and there are five vacancies that still need to be filled.