12 June 2012

ORC's Whipping Rule Needs To Be Tweaked

Due to his stretch ride in the Woodbine Oaks, winning jockey Alex Solis received a $6,000 fine for whipping Oaks winner Irish Mission excessively in the stretch. Sounds like quite a fine for jockey, but the Oaks had a purse of $500,000. The winner's portion was $300,000, of which $30,000 went to the Solis ($7,500 of that most probably went to Solis' jockey agent). Second prize is only a third of these amounts.

First, I want to comment Woodbine and the ORC to have whipping rules in place. They've even made strides when it comes to using less abusive whips. But this whole scenario just doesn't seem right or proper.

Before I go on, watch the race:

You can't see the violation because Solis whipped with his left hand, but I'm sure the head on film left no doubt in the minds of the stewards. The point of watching the race was to show that it was a very close race, and sustained momentum seemed to win it for Irish Mission, probably brought on by constant whipping.

The reason for the ORC rule in the first place was to protect the horse and to help improve the public perception of horse racing. Both are great reasons. Though some have argued that whipping should be banned completely, and some go as far as saying whipping does not make a horse go faster, I think the latter might be true of some horses, but many horses wind up with improved results due to their need to be constantly reminded to keep their mind on business.

Not that I'm against eliminating the whip or just using placebo whips, that is not the issue here, the issue is an equal playing field, whether you are a bettor or horsemen or jockey.

And it is a race like Oaks where my sense of fairness gets carved a new one. If you are a bettor, you want your jockey to excessively hit if it is the difference between cashing or ripping up your ticket. Same thing applies if you are an owner, trainer, or groom. Excessive whipping is not something a horse can get DQed over. Purses aren't redistributed because of it. The fines are in place to act as a deterrent to try to prevent jockeys from slashing too much. And yes, repeated violations can also lead to more income loss down the road via more fines and then suspensions. Solis hasn't been here long enough to have repeat offenses though.

The point here is that the fine wasn't big enough. And for those who wagered on the second place finisher, and those who were involved in the ownership or training of the second place finisher and even the third place finisher have to just feel like suckers if they give this situation any thought at all. It isn't right that a jockey can decide to gamble on a fine in order to win a race, and there should be no incentive to do so.

I don't blame Solis here at all, he was playing by the rules as currently administered. Only unambitious people might say that they don't want to work harder to make more money because they pay a higher tax rate. Solis pulled out all the punches he could to win, and he wound up with more net money than he would have if he decided to not risk getting fined. He didn't do anything illegal either. And that is why jockeys need to lose their entire portion of the purse in the future.


tommy said...

i watch woodbine replays religiously,there should be fines every day, but so far only american solis has been fined.

Anonymous said...

That was a clear example of why jockeys need the whip. She was not only laying and lugging in but she wasn't paying attention to the horses outside of her. It doesn't happen every day, but Solis was able to use his expertise to win that race by hitting her left handed. Without it, he might not have been able to, and he would have lost that race, and succumbed to being merely a passenger, instead of a captain. To me, this is a perfect example of the opposite point of view to whipping laws. Pure nonsense that he was fined for winning a Grade 1 race, and this filly will probably learn and benefit from this experience.

Anonymous said...

What a ridiculous conversation. This is just another example of what morons most people involved in horse racing really are. With all the problems the sport has, we have to listen to this crap.

Whip away to win the race.....fine the guy in 9th who is whipping the horse because he is mad.

What a joke.

Anonymous said...

I usually enjoy reading your stuff (lately there hasn't been much) :-)

I think you are completely off base regarding the whipping. I guess if it were up to you, you would want the jockey taken off too.

Cangamble said...

My stance here is either have a whipping rule, but fine jockeys their entire earnings if the violate OR don't have whipping violations.

I do think that whipping is overrated though and racing can most likely get by with placebo whips.

R. Lee said...

The horse should have been disqualified if the rules were broken.

R. Lee said...

Yet another ruling made with no thought for the bettor.

Anonymous said...

At Woodbine they will have to announce before each race now which jockeys are willing to take the fine in order to win the race. I don't want to bet on a jockey who won't risk the fine to win.

Anonymous said...

Don't bet on Canadian racing.What crap!