By a 5-0 vote, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) advanced a rule proposal that could be the strictest racehorse whip rules in US horse racing.
Under the new proposed rule, the whipping of horses will no longer be permitted at any state-sanctioned racetrack for any circumstances other than “when necessary to control the horse for the safety of the horse or rider.”
A late amendment removed language that would have allowed for disqualification of horses whose jockeys used the whip or crop to try and win or encourage a horse, and not strictly for safety reasons. The change means offending jockeys could still be penalized, but the order of finish, payouts, and bettors would not change.
There is a state-mandated 45-day period to gather and consider public commentary. Subsequently the CHRB will take a final vote on the whipping or crop ban. It then must be approved by the state’s Office of Administrative Law, and if so would become official. For now we still have “three strikes before giving the horse a chance to respond” which seemed to be working just fine.