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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Churchill, Arlington, Calder and The Fair Grounds All Ban Toe Grabs

Trainer Steve Asmussen paid close attention to how Steve Norman was trimming his filly Pocahontas during Derby Week at Churchill Downs in 2004. (Thanks to Dan Burke of FPD for this photo.)

This press release was issued today and is printed below verbatim, so that I don't possibly misquote the fine print of what is and is not allowed. I know that this verbiage is still a little confusing, but eventually the what-is-legal-and-what-is-not parameters will sort themselves. The bold terms are mine, to help keep the main points straight.

Brief explanation of terms: Toe grabs refer to traction cleats in the toe bend of the shoe (front of foot). Currently shoes are sold with toe grabs of different heights. Turndowns refer to mechanically bending the heels of the shoe in the back part of the foot. Shoes are sold with flat heels. Turndowns usually refers to a steeper alternation of the heel and a "bend" is a minor turndown.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2008) - Churchill Downs Incorporated has implemented a new horseshoe policy at its four racetracks that bans the use of toe grabs greater than two millimeters. The new policy is effective immediately.

The policy, which will apply to all horses racing and training at Churchill Downs, Arlington Park, Calder Race Course and Fair Grounds Race Course, states:

"Front horse shoes which have toe grabs greater than two millimeters shall be prohibited from racing or training on all racing surfaces at all Churchill Downs Incorporated racetracks. This includes but is not limited to the following: toe grabs, bends, jar calks, stickers and any other traction device worn on the front shoes of Thoroughbred horses.

"Any hind shoe with a turndown of more than one-quarter inch will not be allowed on the dirt courses.

"Hind shoes with calks, stickers, blocks, raised toes or turndowns will not be allowed on the turf courses. This includes quarter horse shoes or any shoe with a toe grab of more than one-quarter inch."

"Our change in policy is another positive step toward improving the welfare and safety of our equine and human athletes, and it's consistent with the recommendations of The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committee, TOBA's Thoroughbred Action Committee and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to address safety in horse racing," said Donnie Richardson, senior vice president of racing for Churchill Downs Incorporated.

(end press release)

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. This post was originally published on October 14, 2008 at

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judi said...

I read with sadness the contraptions used on a horses foot.
A sound healthy hoove is the most amazing structure which when allowed to grow and develop will carry your horse and you through all terrains and activities. I also find it hard to accept that you use with honesty/integrety the words "welfare and safety of our equine" Your blind acceptance and use of artificial attachments and asthetic cover ups of badly grown hooves/horse is I feel the view of an ingnorant and closed minded person. With respect. Judi Goor-Mundell

judi said...

The amount of time/effort/energy wasted on what sort of shoe, what sort of toe grab etc etc etc. Why not just breed naturally healthy hooves, which need just as much Farrier Trimming, which do not need any sort of contraption on the foot. You are not only ruining a perfectly wonderful invention "THE HOOF" you are just making so much more unproductive work for yourselves. Regards, Judi