Kentucky Horse Racing Commission
Racing Commission Changes Standardbred Whip Rules

Press Release Date:  Monday, September 22, 2008  
Contact Information:  Jim Carroll, 502-564-5525  

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) today adopted changes in rules governing the use of whips in standardbred racing.


     Under the changes, one-handed whipping in harness racing is banned. Previously, a driver was allowed to hold both lines in one hand and use the whip in the other during the homestretch of a race. The KHRC also banned whips with a snapper – a strand of material on the tip that can cause welts.

     Kentucky is believed to be the fir

st racing jurisdiction in North America to curb abusive whipping practices in standardbred racing.


    Governor Steve Beshear hailed the rules changes.


     “Once again, the KHRC has moved forcefully to enhance the safety of horse racing,” Beshear said. “I am proud that Kentucky is at the forefront of states acting on behalf of the humane treatment of trotters and pacers.”


     The changes will go into effect in the spring of 2009 after a required period for publication and public comment.


     Failure of a driver to hold both lines in both hands will result in a suspension of 10 to 30 days and a fine of $100 to $13,000 for a first offense. Use of a whip with a snapper will draw a suspension of three days to one year, and a fine ranging from $100 to $20,000. The potential penalties are believed to be among the most stringent in North American harness racing.