The Stewards’ Report for the Iroquois Steeplechase May 11 included these notes:
“CITE fell at the last fence. He appeared to knuckle upon landing.”
“ORCHESTRA LEADER fell at the last fence [after] hitting the top.”
“ALL FOR US pulled up lame before the 7th fence and was vanned off.”
“Jockey Aaron Sinnott was observed by the stewards using an excessive amount of stick on the winner WIGWAM BABY during the running of this race. The Stewards were able to count fifteen strikes from the second last fence to the wire, many in succession without giving the horse time to respond. The stewards met with Jockey Sinnott…and gave him a warning that this was not acceptable and must be considerably modified or he would be subject to penalty next time. Jockey Sinnott was very polite and promised to be careful next time.”
So, for “using an excessive amount of stick” (“fifteen strikes”), this animal-abuser receives a gentle admonition. Who says being “very polite” doesn’t pay?
Also: Forever, the racing people have been telling us that whips are but “harmless guides”; that the horse’s thick hide makes him impervious to the lashes; that they’re really only responding to the sound. Nonsense, of course, and every once in a while an apologist admits as much, though in most cases, unintentionally. Two days ago, hack racing writer John Cherwa wrote this in the LA Times:
“There could also be changes to the proposal that riding crops, or whips, can be used only for safety reasons. A new crop was tried out at Keeneland that is said to cause no distress to horses.” In other words, the “crops” they use now do cause distress.
This is horseracing.
The new crop that has been tried out at Keeneland is just another version of the so-called “padded” whip in a deceitful attempt to placate the public and a self-serving strategy for the jockeys to be able to keep on flogging (injuring) the horses. Too lazy to ride hands ‘n’ heels, lengthen their irons and carry a whip for safety.
It’s cosmetic – there would be the solid shaft of the whip hidden under this lighter material (just like the padded whip) and as we know more often than not (about 75% of the time – an Australian study by the RSPCA) the unpadded section of the whip contacts the horse and often on the sensitive flank area which is prohibited under the international horse racing rules.
And let’s not forget the great force that most jockeys use when striking the horse, whip arm raised high for painful impact upon the animal.