NJ commission to meet April 22 on riding crop rule

The New Jersey Racing Commission will hold a special session on April 22 to consider a proposal to end its controversial ban on the use of riding crops during a race, except for safety reasons.

During the meeting, the committee will vote on a request for Monmouth Park to waive the current state rule in favor of adopting the national standards that will be implemented once the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority’s safety and welfare regulations come into effect on July 1 .

HISA rules limit jockeys to six strikes while racing and no more than two in a row, while the current state rule passed last year allows jockeys to carry their crop but they can only use it in a dangerous situation and not for encouragement.

If Monmouth’s request is successful, Friday’s session schedule would cover a 10-day period in which New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy must accept or veto the new regulations and authorize their passage before the start. of the 2022 Monmouth meeting on May 7. .

Since there is no time before the start of the match for the NJRC to officially change its rule due to a 60-day comment period, Monmouth is asking for a waiver of the current rule and the ability to create a internal rule.

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Monmouth Race Director and Race Secretary John Heims said the track’s three classification judges will monitor the races and decide whether fines or suspensions are warranted. If they sanction a jockey, Heims would be the hearing officer for an appeal.

Because this would be a track rule rather than a state rule, it is uncertain whether reciprocity would apply and whether other states would honor suspensions.

“As July 1st is fast approaching, for the sake of the betting public, riders and all industry players, they should know at the start of the season that there will be one rule for all competition” , Heims said. “It’s not good for handicappers and everyone else that the rules are changed in the middle of the competition. Our grip was around 17% last year when everyone was on their feet. I don’t blame him on one thing, but I imagine from what I’ve read, a number of people have stopped looking at our product based on the rule.”

Monmouth’s 62-day meet includes the July 23 TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) for 3-year-olds with a $1 million prize pool.

This card will also include the other Tier 1 stakes of the meet, the $600,000 United Nations Stakes (G1T) at 1 3/8 miles on grass as well as the Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares, the 400 $000 Monmouth Cup (G3) for ages 3 and up, and the WinStar Matchmaker Stakes (G3T) for fillies and mares on grass.

Among the 50 stakes, 10 of which are ranked, is the Sept. 17 $500,000 Nownownow Stakes for 2-year-olds on grass one mile away.

Closing day is scheduled for September 18.

Clyde P. Johnson