Kentucky Horse Racing Commission

Press Release Date:  Monday, September 15, 2008  
Contact Information:  Jim Carroll

The safety and welfare committee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) voted today to recommend changes in racing rules governing the use of whips in standardbred racing.
The committee voted to ban all one-handed whipping in standardbred harness racing. The committee adopted a rule that would require a driver to hold a line in each hand and keep both hands in front of the body throughout a race. Previously, a driver could hold both lines in one hand and the whip in the other during the homestretch of a race.
The committee also banned the use of a whip with a “snapper.” A snapper consists of strands of material at the end of a whip.
The proposed changes will be considered by the commission at its next meeting Sept. 22.
“I am delighted that the safety and welfare committee approved these changes,” said Alan Leavitt, commission member. “These reforms make Kentucky the first racing jurisdiction in North America to ban abusive whipping in standardbred racing.” Leavitt also stated that “this great step forward was made possible by the unanimous approval of the board of the Kentucky Harness Horsemen’s Association.”
Failure to hold both lines in both hands at all times shall result in a suspension of 10 to 30 days and a fine of $100 to $13,000 for a first offense. Subsequent violations shall result in proportionately more severe penalties.
The use of a whip with a snapper shall be punishable by a license suspension of three days to one year, and a fine ranging from $100 to $20,000.