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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Racing Commissioners Rules Committee Agrees to Recommend Banning Toe Grabs, Educating Trainers

The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) met in Saratoga Springs, New York on Friday. On the table: recommendations from the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committee, which includes urgent action on recommendations for more states, racing meets and individual racetracks to ban toe grabs on front shoes of Thoroughbreds. (See previous posts for recent bans on shoe modifications at certain tracks around the country.)

According to a memo received today from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), the RCI Model Rules Committee met in all day session Friday at the National Museum of Racing and has made the following recommendations to the RCI Board for adoption:

• Impose further restrictions on the use of toe grabs in Thoroughbred racing, limiting their size to 2mm.

• Impose a new requirement on licensed horse trainers to undergo at least four hours of continuing education each year as a condition of maintaining a current trainer’s license. The continuing education program would be required to be approved by the ARCI or the commission in a particular jurisdiction.

Regulatory jurisdictions with representatives present and participating in the Model Rules meeting included: California, New York, Kentucky, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Virginia, Indiana, South Dakota, Ontario, Jamaica, Trinidad/Tobago, Delaware and Minnesota.

It will now be up to the RCI Board to approve or deny the committee's recommendation.

Here is the text of recommendations that were given to the Rules Committee; the toe grab and continuing education for trainers seem to be the only points that received action.

JUNE 9, 2008

Recommendation #1: – Shoes and Hoof Care

Based on published research*, prior considerations and recommendations brought forward from the 2006 Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit Shoeing and Hoof Care Committee and recent discussions with persons with expertise in shoeing matters, The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Safety Committee (“Committee”) calls for:

“An immediate ban on toe grabs with a height greater than two millimeters, bends, jar caulks, stickers and any other appliance worn on the front shoes of Thoroughbred horses while racing or training on all racing surfaces.”

Further, the Committee calls for:
1.  All racetracks to immediately implement this ban by “house rule.”
2.  The Association of Racing Commissioners’ International and all North American racing authorities to implement this ban by rule as soon as possible, but no later than December 31, 2008.

In addition, the Committee encourages:
1.  The development of educational guidebooks and DVD’s on proper hoof care and shoeing for trainers and owners.
2.  Racing authorities to establish requirements for continuing education on the proper care and welfare of the Thoroughbred racehorse in order for trainers to renew their license.
3.  Racing authorities establish certification criteria for farriers practicing within the enclosure of licensed race tracks and training facilities.

Finally, the Thoroughbred Safety Committee hereby requests that proposals for research on the effects of toe grabs and other appliances on rear shoes on Thoroughbred racehorses on all racing surfaces during racing and training be developed and submitted immediately (or no later than October 1, 2008) to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.

* Kane AJ, Stover SM, Gardner IA, et. al. Horseshoe characteristics as possible risk factors for
fatal musculoskeletal injury of thoroughbred racehorses. Am J Vet Res 1996; 57:1147-1152.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely the best thing that could be done for the sport of racing, banning toe grabs!
Many years of published research regarding the bio-mechanics of horses wearing toe grabs and of course the long toe, low heel syndrome and at last something is done about the grabs. Good job guys.