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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jockey Club Calls for Ban of All Traction Devices on Front Shoes of Racehorses

A press release from the Jockey Club yesterday calls for immediate action to change front shoe regulations of racehorses immediately. The edict was a result of research completed in the past few weeks by the newly appointed Thoroughbred Safety Committee.
Recommendations from the Committee will be reviewed by individual state racing commissions, who have the authority to adopt, adapt or reject the recommendations.

Specifically, the committee calls for:

  • An immediate ban on toe grabs (other than 2-millimeter wear plates), turn downs, jar calks, stickers and any other traction devices worn on the front shoes of Thoroughbred horses while racing or training on all racing surfaces.
  • The Association of Racing Commissioners’ International (RCI) and all North American racing authorities to implement this ban by rule as soon as possible, but no later than December 31, 2008, and for all racetracks to consider immediately implementing this ban by “house rule” in the interim.
Previous recommendations from the Grayson Jockey Club's Welfare and Safety Summit had included a model rule banning toe grabs greater than 4 mm; this recommendation was developed and passed at at the Racing Commissions International (RCI) Convention in April 2007, but is subject to adoption by individual states. Several states, including California, adopted that recommendation.

The new policy advisory is much stronger, since it lowers the toe grab from 4 millimeters to effectively eliminating it except for the wear plate seen in the toes of most flat shoes and outlaws the use of mud calks, jar calks, and stickers.

Turndowns and bends (angling the heels of the shoe toward the ground) are normally seen on the hind feet, as are most toe grabs and traction devices.

The Jockey Club policy advisory only addresses traction on front shoes.

Additional advisories recommend elimination of steroid anabolic medications in the race training and racing of Thoroughbreds no later than December 31, 2008.

The Thoroughbred Safety Committee includes chairman Stuart S. Janney III, and members John Barr, James G. (Jimmy) Bell, Dr. Larry Bramlage, Donald R. Dizney, Dell Hancock and Dr. Hiram C. Polk Jr. Each is a member of The Jockey Club.

The Welfare and Safety Summit includes a Shoeing and Hoof Care Committee, chaired by Bill Casner of WinStar Farms. The committee has been actively working on creating more information about racehorse shoes and their effects on horses and their interaction with different surfaces.

Read Tuesday's complete press release here.

1 comment:

rather rapid said...

fran, we know what the recommendation, but how about a little editorial comment? what is your opinion?
1. is there really any research that supports this. there is purportedly, but, has "anybody" bothered to read the actual reports. the UCa-Davis report(at the end) says they were unable to reach any conclusions.
2. my own research, which was pretty intensive with one horse, indicated to me visually that horses dislike running in different style shoes front/hind where there's faster breakover from the non-grab shoe. I discerned a level of discomfort even when there was a level grip on front and 4mm grab behind. the level of discomfort was highly visible with queens xt fronts/4mm hind. Are we, based on some highly doubtful,flimsy research, taking away the enjoyment of racing from our horses?
3. i'm unable to picture horses motoring through that deep Belmont surface without at least some front toe grab. Anybody bothered to study the injury effect of a horse slipping and sliding?
etc. etc.