New York jockeys will start riding full time with equine friendly riding crops beginning Wednesday, Aug. 19, at Saratoga.
The new riding crops conform to the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Model Rules and The Jockey Club Safety Committee’s recommendations.
“This initiative is great for racing in New York,” said jockey John Velazquez, chairman of the board of directors of the Jockeys’ Guild. “It’s really about what is best for the horse. As a group, the jockeys decided to take this action that will benefit the horses competing on the track as well as the sport of racing. The New York jockeys and the Jockeys’ Guild are pleased to take this step.
“The quality and durability of the new crops has improved significantly, and there are enough suppliers now to meet demand. The first generation of these riding crops, particularly the padded flap, was not sufficiently durable to last a reasonable amount of time. We now feel confident that the quality and the supply are there to implement this change.”
“The padded flap is much kinder to the horse,” said jockey Edgar Prado. “Jockeys across the country have been using the new riding crops on a trial basis for quite a while, and in Kentucky the new riding crop is the standard. In New York, now is the right time to make that change and Saratoga is the proper place.”
“The New York jockeys, like the Del Mar jockeys last week, deserve the credit for being proactive in adopting this measure,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “This action is an example of the commitment of the jockeys to work with all groups in the industry to help overcome the challenges facing it. In New York, the jockeys want to continue to work with NYRA to strengthen the racing industry in the state.”