Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tioga Downs whipping pilot program to take effect on Saturday

Tioga Downs has joined forces with the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association in developing a pilot program for whipping that will take effect this Saturday night.

The guidelines for the whipping program are below, and will be handed out to drivers and trainers in the paddock this weekend along with boards displaying the rules in the paddock for the remainder of the racing season.

"We feel that the whipping issue is something that we need to get out in front of as an industry and be proactive with. We are going to try these whipping policies for the remainder of this race meet and continue to work with our horsemen's organization for the betterment of our industry,” said Jason M. Settlemoir, VP of Racing & Simulcast.

Tioga Downs Whipping Rule:  Pilot Project effective June 16, 2012

1.      Drivers shall comply with the rules of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, in particular 9 NYRCC § 4117.8 (Whips, goads and head poles), and all drivers agree through their horsemen's organization with the racetrack that they will use and it shall be necessary to use the whip in compliance with these additional standards at Tioga Downs:
2.      Drivers shall not cause an injury, visible or not, to the horse with the whip.

3.      Drivers shall not whip a horse that is out of contention.

4.      Drivers shall not repetitively (i.e., more than two strikes without a pause) whip a horse that is not responding to the whip.

5.      Drivers shall keep a line in each hand (except as may be necessary to adjust equipment, e.g., pulling plugs, dropping blinkers) from the start of the race until the 7/8 pole.

6.      A driver who uses the whip in a one-handed motion once the horse has reached the 7/8 pole shall strike only the shaft of the sulky or the saddle pad, may not use the whip in an unreasonable (i.e., excessive or indiscriminate) manner, and must pause after two strikes.

7.      No goading device, including but not limited to a chain, spur, or mechanical or electrical device, other than a whip permitted by the NYSRWB rules, shall be used upon a horse either while racing, training, or at any other time on the premises of Tioga Downs.

Please be reminded that, among other requirements, the NYSRWB rules require that:

8.      The use of the whip shall be confined to an area above and between the sulky shafts and the outside wheel discs.

9.      Drivers shall use the whip in a conventional manner which includes not striking or jabbing the horse with the butt end of a whip.

10.  Drivers shall not use the whip in a manner that is brutal, excessive, indiscriminate, or unnecessary, or that interferes with or causes disturbance to another horse or driver.

11.  Under the supervision of the judges, there shall be a mandatory visual inspection of each horse following each race for evidence of excessive or brutal use of the whip.

Tioga Downs has also adopted a House Rule that no person shall possess any mechanical or electrical goading device on the grounds of Tioga Downs
Tioga Downs kicks off three straight days of live racing on Saturday, June 16th at 6:50 pm, for more information on Tioga Downs please visit us on our website at

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