KHRC Wants Jockey Interviews to be Discussed

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is calling on other racing industry groups to take a look at the practice of conducting jockey interviews during the moments leading up to a race.

In its report on the investigation surrounding the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, the KHRC has recommended that post parade jockey interviews be discussed by industry groups such as the Association of Racing Commissioners International, the Jockeys’ Guild, The Jockey Club, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association, and the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

The recommendation stems from the KHRC’s investigation of the Ladies’ Classic, in which Life At Ten finished last as the second choice at odds of 7-2.

During an interview with ESPN analyst Jerry Bailey, conducted during the post parade about five minutes before the horses were loaded into the gate, jockey John Velazquez said Life At Ten did not look right, but did not relay those concerns to the stewards or any KHRC veterinarians.

In its recommendations, the KHRC suggested that the industry groups consider discussion of “weighing the benefits of post parade jockey interviews versus the duty of the KHRC to protect the safety and integrity of the sport.”

Consideration should be given to “the impact of post parade jockey interviews on wagering integrity” and “the role of owners and trainers in deciding whether to allow their jockeys to grant a pre-race interview,” the commission said it in its list of recommendations.

If there is a recommendation “made that jockeys should not be permitted to speak to the media after they leave the jockey’s room,” changes would need to be made to the Kentucky Administrative Regulations that govern racing in the state,” the report said.

Along with reviewing the post parade jockey interviews, the KHRC recommends the groups look into “formulation of a jockey responsibility rule” and “consider a recommendation that the Jockeys’ Guild provide media training to its members.”

In addition to issuing its report on the Life At Ten investigation, the commission voted there was probable cause to believe that both Velazquez and chief state steward John Veitch were in violation of racing regulations in connection with the Life At Ten situation.

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