Kentucky Horse Racing Commission
Kentucky Horse Racing Commission adopts new safety vest regulations

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, June 09, 2009  
Contact Information:  Dick Brown 502-564-5525  

LEXINGTON, KY (June 9, 2009) – The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) today voted to adopt a recommendation from its Safety and Welfare Committee to establish minimum requirements for safety vests worn at association race tracks. The adoption of the new rule will expand the range of safety vests permitted for use by jockeys at Kentucky racetracks.  The rule not only will require safety vests to meet specified minimum standards, but also will permit jockeys to use vests, which exceed these standards. 

The commission also agreed with the committee to require that a safety vest be worn by any person mounted on a horse or stable pony, all assistant starters, and any person handling a horse in a starting gate. 

“This is a very important step in assuring the safety of everyone who rides a horse at a location under the jurisdiction of the commission,” said Lisa E. Underwood, executive director of the KHRC. “Expanding the types of vests that may be worn and encouraging all riders to go beyond the minimum standards will be important in helping reduce injuries not only for the jockeys but for others on horseback or working the starting gate.”

"We are pleased that the rule includes vests that are specifically designed to meet the needs of jockeys,” said Jeff Johnston of the Jockeys’ Guild.  “Safety vests that are lighter and more flexible are more suitable to race riding than those used in other horse-related activities.  They have been independently tested and are consistent with international racing standards. We appreciate the work of Ms. Betsy Lavin and the KHRC Safety and Welfare Committee in allowing the Jockeys' Guild to present views and opinions of jockeys during this process.  We are sure the rule will provide for safer vests and accommodate the everyday needs of the riders."

The new rules must go through an administrative regulations review process and could be in effect later this year.