The Brock Talk

Friday, July 10, 2009

New York Jockeys Using Padded Whips

Something to watch this weekend will be the racing at Belmont Park. But take a closer look at the jockeys as they are testing padded crops designed to be gentler on horses.

All whips used will adhere to regulations on the length and weight of the whip and the actual leather popper which comes in contact with the horse will be lengthened and have padding applied to absord the shock.

“They are softer than the regular [crops] and it’s definitely not as hard on the horses,” said jockey John Velazquez. “I rode with them at Keeneland and you just have to get used to the feeling – it’s a little bit lighter than my other [crop].”

The cushioned crops are recommended in the safety guidelines issued by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety and Integrity Alliance and conform to new guidelines developed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI). Belmont Park was fully-accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance on May 29, with NYRA’s Aqueduct Racetrack and Saratoga Race Course expected to be certified later this year.

A full explanation of the new crop specifications can be found in the ARCI Model Rules (rule 010-035), available online at:

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