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Thursday, June 21, 2007

NY Legislature Whips Toward Finish Line

- The Times reported this morning on a flurry of last minute activity in the New York legislature as the session comes to a close today. There was no mention of any bills regarding the franchise; only of the one to lower the taxes on the state's racinos in favor of more money for marketing. That proposed law is apparently still stalled in the Assembly, and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, who as you may know is the chairman of the Committee on Racing and Wagering, said: “Usually, businesses pay for their own marketing....I don’t think that’s a price worth paying to save someone who made a bad business deal."

My answer to that would be that usually, businesses don't get bailed out by slot machines and usually, businesses aren't taxed at rates over 60%. In short, this is not a usual business situation. While I understand that Mr. Pretlow is concerned about a loss of education revenue, and his point about bad business decisions is well-taken, the idea is that more revenue for marketing will enable the racinos to better compete, and in the long run produce even more money for the state, even at a lower rate. In any event, the racinos won't produce any revenue at all if they're out of business.

Tom Precious, reporting for, confirms today that efforts to resolve the NYRA franchise situation, as expected, will not happen before legislators leave town. There's talk of a special session in July, but far more time would be needed if they are going to do this the right way, i.e., addressing the matter of the OTB's that compete with the tracks.

- An anonymous commenter wrote about the use of the whip in this country, citing rules against excessive whipping in England. Indeed, just the other day, Michael over at Curb Your Enthusiasm was watching the races from Royal Ascot, and reported that there was an inquiry regarding Frankie Dettori's use of the whip on Ramonti, the winner of the Queen Anne Stakes (with George Washington rallying to finish a close 4th). The result stood, but there are very specific rules regarding the whip in the UK. You can find them here, on the Horseracing Regulatory Authority site.

The HRA has asked Stewards of Meetings to consider holding an enquiry into any case where a rider has used his whip in such a way as to cause them concern and publish the following examples of uses of the whip which may be regarded as improper riding:

Hitting horses:

* to the extent of causing injury;
* with the whip arm above shoulder height;
* rapidly without regard to their stride, i.e. twice or more in one stride;
* with excessive force;
* without giving the horse time to respond.

Hitting horses which are:

* showing no response;
* out of contention;
* clearly winning;
* past the winning post.

Hitting horses in any place except:

* on the quarters with the whip in either the backhand or forehand position;
* down the shoulder with the whip in the backhand position;
* unless very exceptional circumstances prevail.

Hitting horses:

* with excessive frequency.
It's worth reading the whole page for some other interesting rules; for example, a rider is supposed to show the whip to the horse and give it time to respond before using it. I wonder if there are any rules regarding whipping at all in this country, other than using it past the finish line?

And reader Mr. Ed brought up an interesting point about yesterday's DQ which threw some bettors (including he) for a loop:
The only question, and the reason I think it took so long to adjudicate, was whether the final and most severe contact occurred before or after the finish line.
True, the head-on angle I saw doesn't really address that. But I think that Corny V could, or at least should, be facing a suspension even if the stewards had decided that the contact happened after the wire.


Anonymous said...

From NYS Wagering & Racing Commission Thoroughbred Rules:

4035.9. Use of whips.

(a) No whip shall weigh more than one-half pound. No whip shall be used unless it has affixed to the end a closed popper made of leather or other material approved by the stewards, not less than 1 1/4 inches in width, and not over four inches in length, and be feathered above the popper with not less than three rows of leather or other material approved by the stewards, each feather not less than one inch in length. No whip shall exceed 31 inches in length. All whips are subject to inspection and approval by the stewards.

(b) In all races where a jockey will not ride with a whip, an announcement shall be made over the public address system of such fact.

(c) Although the use of a whip is not required, any jockey who uses a whip during a race is prohibited from whipping a horse:

(1) on the head, flanks or on any other part of its body other than the shoulders or hind quarters;

(2) during the post parade or after the race except when necessary to control the horse;

(3) excessively or brutally causing welts or breaks in the skin;

(4) when the horse is clearly out of the race or has obtained its maximum placing; or

(5) persistently even though the horse is showing no response under the whip.

(d) Correct uses of the whip are:

(1) showing horses the whip before hitting them;

(2) using the whip in rhythm with the horse's stride; and

(3) using the whip as an aid to maintain a horse running straight.

Alan Mann said...

LS - Thanks for that. I think it's fair to say that not all of these rules are strictly enforced, wouldn't you say?

Anonymous said...

it's definitely fair to say that not all of these rules are strictly enforced. the one jockey in new york who uses the whip properly, i.e. as little as possible, every time is edgar prado. watch him.

ljk said...

Safe to say Jorge Chavez hasn't seen these rules.

Anonymous said...

steward's inquiry into severe bumping in the lane between Old Joe and The Steamroller? looks like nothing happened on the franchise. july? we'll see. doesn't seem to matter when, no, it seems safe to assume that whenever it happens, it won't result in the much-needed overhaul of racing/wagering law.
meanwhile magna entertainment needs a new ceo - funny, but Magna's chief entertainment product these days seems to be the dizziness you get watching various executives get on and off of Frank's carousel...the departing ceo lasted four months...a short but productive term highlighted by his efforts on behalf of TrackNet Media, the bane of account players all across this great land...and the CHRB/barn renovation fiasco. well, on the bright side, it doesn't look we'll be seeing The Malls Of Magna At Saratoga any time soon...