(Edited press release)
Mike Dempsey, director of racing at Monmouth Park, announced Aug. 13 that new rules regarding riding crops used by jockeys, and the use of toe grabs on racing shoes will go into effect at the New Jersey track starting Aug. 19.
All jockeys will use the new riding crops in all races starting that day. The newly enhanced crops have been used in the last race each day at Monmouth since July 8, and now will be in use in every race, every day.
The new crops, which have been endorsed by the Jockeys’ Guild, are easier on the horses, who react to the sound of the popper rather than from a physical reaction to the whip.
Regarding the toe grab issue, Monmouth Park has adopted the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committee’s recommendation to allow toe grabs up to four millimeters in height on front shoes on dirt racing surfaces only.
The new rule will go into effect for all dirt races at Monmouth--including graded stakes--starting Aug. 19.
The previous rule allowed for toe grabs up to two millimeters, but the adjustment was made when it was reported that an unusually high number of horses were stumbling at the start of races last month at Delaware Park.
The rule applies to toe grabs on front shoes only, and in no cases is a height greater than four millimeters allowable.
No traction devices of any kind are allowed on shoes worn in grass races.