Monday, July 14, 2008

Kentucky Adopts Toe Grab Limitation Model Rule Change; Process to Ratify Begins

Lisa Underwood, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, confirmed tonight that her agency today announced that they would adopt the model rule proposed by the Grayson Jockey Club Foundation's Thoroughbred Safety Committee and significantly add to the language describing how horses may be shod for racing and training on all types of racing surfaces in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

On June 17, the Committee issued a model rule suggestion to the individual state racing jurisdictions around the country.

The recommendation calls for :

1) An immediate ban on toe grabs other than 2-millimeter wear plates, turn downs, jar caulks, stickers and any other traction devices worn on the front shoes of Thoroughbred horses while racing or training on all racing surfaces.

2) 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.

We all know that most of those adaptations are worn on hind shoes, but this does clarify the previous model rule change suggestion, which called for a ban on toe grabs higher than four millimeters.

The new rule sounds like it would limit horses to wearing flat plates in front.

Hoofcare and Lameness will host a forum on the topic of racehorse shoeing regulations on Tuesday, August 5, 2008 as part of our "Hoofcare@Saratoga" event series. Come and meet Bill Casner of Winstar Farms, chairman of the Grayson Jockey club's Welfare and Safety Summit's Shoeing Committee, and hear farrier instructor Mitch Taylor, who will present new research conducted by the Welfare and Safety Summit (WSS), and get real-world insights from Kentucky Thoroughbred shoer Steve Norman. Introductory lecture about artificial surfaces will be by the "mad genius" trainer, Michael Dickinson of Fair Hill, Maryland and Tapeta. Other speakers and participants will be announced.

All in the horseshoeing and racing worlds are welcome to attend...and it might be a good idea, given these new rule changes. Watch this blog for more news about this important event, or send an email to to get on our email notification list for the Hoofcare@Saratoga series.

Photos for this post courtesy of Dan Burke of FPD, distributors of Kerckhaert shoes in the USA. Thank you!

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