Jockeys' Guild Approves New Weight Scale

The Jockeys' Guild approved a new scale of weights it hopes will be adopted immediately by racing secretaries nationwide. The new scale increases the minimum weight to 116 pounds. For 3-year-olds racing against older horses, the minimum weight would be 114 pounds from January through April, 115 pounds in May, and 116 pounds from June through December. The maximum weight would be 123 pounds.

"We're mainly concerned about the minimum," said John Giovanni, national manager for the Jockeys' Guild. "Each generation of jockeys is getting bigger and bigger. People are killing themselves to make weight."

The new scale was developed during two meetings with racing secretaries from the country's key racing states. Giovanni sent letters explaining the proposed changes to the racing secretaries who could not attend the meetings. The Jockeys' Guild finalized and adopted the weight changes during its annual meeting in Las Vegas.

"I have asked racing secretaries to use this scale in their next condition books," Giovanni said. "I assume they will since I've never had a negative comment from anyone -- no phone call, no letter."

The Jockeys' Guild will ask the Association of Racing Commissioners International and the North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association to add the weight increases to their rules. The organizations are not required to adopt the weight changes before racing secretaries can use them, Giovanni said.