RCI Committee Wants Review of 'Urging'

Seeks adoption of rule used in Canadian province of Ontario.

The International Racing Regulatory Conference Committee of the Association of Racing Commissioners International held its first meeting Feb. 10 and called for a review of RCI Model Rules pertaining to "urging" in Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, and Standardbred racing.

The committee, chaired by Doug King, the director of racing for the Saskatchewan Liquor & Gaming Authority in Canada, expressed a desire that RCI adopt the current rule of the Ontario Racing Commission in Canada as an international model.

“The Ontario approach has been considered before and the belief is that now that it has been in practice without problem RCI should reconsider adopting it as an international standard,” said RCI president Ed Martin, noting that organizations representing the jockeys in the United States have in the past resisted the Ontario approach.

Martin said, however, that Ontario was very deliberate by involving riders and drivers as well as other aspects of the industry in discussions that resulted in the enactment of their current rule.

The main difference between the current Model Rule and the Ontario approach is that the Ontario rules more clearly define the maximum arm movement by drivers and jockeys, requiring that the elbow be kept both below the shoulder and in front of the driver in harness races and that the entire riding crop be kept below the shoulder for jockeys in flat races.

The next meeting of the committee will be March 23 in New Orleans at the La Pavillon Hotel during the RCI annual conference.