More Compassionate Whipping at Santa Anita

Santa Anita has announced a new whipping rule for its upcoming Fall meet – no more than three consecutive strikes, then wait for a “response” before whipping can resume. Santa Anita’s president says (DRF, 9/2/14), “It’s good for the horse, and it’s good for public perception.” Darrell Haire of the Jockeys’ Guild adds, “It’s perception more than anything, but perception is reality.” Exactly.


With this summer’s spate of deaths at Del Mar (16), California racing is reeling – and the Breeders’ Cup beckons. So, a show of “commitment to equine welfare” was needed. But like NYRA’s “thorough investigation” into The Saratoga 12, this kinder, gentler brand of jockeying is nothing more than a marketing ploy. As an aside, if the whip were truly the harmless, painless guide some insist – “more about sound than feel,” “barely registers on a half-ton animal” – wouldn’t regulating its use be largely unnecessary?

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  1. The same people who claim the horses love to run, why, they even WANT TO WIN, also say that riders need the whip. Um, which is it? Sorry, but both can’t be true.

  2. It is about time…how about 1 strike & your out…..hitting a tired, running horse….the people who run racing have had their heads up their ass for far too long….

  3. The whip is all about injury and pain…period the sound is an added bonus of terrorization. If the public could stand in a quiet corner of the Jock’s Room: they would hear jocks bragging: I burned his —! I raised welts on him that he will feel for a week, etc. etc. etc. The public is not dumb and people who have a love for horses will not stand in silence when they know with absolute certainty horses are abused and maltreated.

  4. I have seen outrageous displays of whipping and many times when the horse had no chance of winning. Nothing was ever done about such displays of brutality.
    Now we will have new rules to fool the public, essentially . Who will enforce the rules and what will be the consequences for violating them. Plus this only applies to Del Mar, a feeble effort because of the horrible record there. Racing has no shame.
    As one racing enthusiast said, racing is a gambling sport and the horse is the commodity.

    • Rose, you are so right. This 3 strikes max. means almost nothing. It is only for the Santa Anita fall meet — the Breeders’ Cup. The advance ticket sales must be down.

  5. Greedy bastards don’t give a damn for the animal. Our society is so corrupt it lacks compassion, the basis for all morality….if the whip means nothing at all, it no big deal…I say great …..then the whip should be totally banned from horse racing….not needed cause it is useless….BAN the whip ….Ban the drugs. Clean it up if you have enough character and backbone.

  6. Great idea everybody! Let’s take a positive and turn it to a negative. Great job!

    • Limiting being beaten with a whip — imagine you said to your wife or your family dog — “We may be over doing it. In future we will limit our whipping to three strikes.” That is a positive???? To who????

    • Mr. Jaffet, what do you see as positive in cutting back on the number of times a horse can be whipped. And as you know, this “new rule” is a feeble and insulting attempt to dupe the public into thinking racing is “working” to “protect” the horse ! It means nothing, and you know it. In fact, this “rule” would not have been proposed but for the carnage at the track. It just highlights how disingenuous and out of touch with reality these people are.

    • You’ll need to enlighten us on just what the “positive” is, Mr. Juffet. From your perspective, whipping doesn’t the hurt the horse, so what’s positive about limiting an action that doesn’t cause any pain?…seems pretty pointless, right? They might as well whip away! On the other hand, we who understand the pain inflicted by whipping realize that striking the horse “only” three times (waiting for a response, then resume whipping) still causes pain. So what’s the “positive” that “we” have turned into a negative?

  7. The racing industry claims the whipping doesn’t hurt the horse…….then, if that’s the case why do they need Whip Rules? How stupid do they think the public are.
    We know that the whipping not only causes pain and injury to the animal physically but torturous psychological pain as well. The horse is doing its best and then the jockey inflicts painful negative reinforcement. It is aggravated cruelty all in the public eye all over the world.
    Mr Jaffet, how about turning this unacceptable negative into a positive by banning jockeys not only from whipping a horse but banned from carrying a whip. Many years ago i remember jockeys not being allowed to carry a whip in a race for 2 year olds – cannot remember which state in the USA it was. In Norway, they banned whipping racehorses some years back and in more recent times banned jockeys from carrying a whip. And there’s always a winner!

  8. Will these morons ever get it? Isn’t it really about the relationship with the horse? Whether the relationship is based on abuse (animal slavery) or if it’s based on a relationship that embraces equality? That the interests of both parties in the relationship are equally important. The first principle is to understand how horses must be treated using equine learning theory which results in a cooperative willing animal who is not the victim of confusion, abuse pain, suffering and stress.

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