The Quebec Jockey Club will be instituting new whipping rules for all drivers at Hippodrome 3R in 2019.
“Many will remember that we featured no whips on the last two days of the 2018 race meet,” said Director of Racing Murielle Thomassin. “We learned a lot from those two days and have worked with our horsemen to come up with these new harsher rules for use of the whip at Hippodrome 3R.”
Starting this season drivers must keep both hands in the handholds at all times. Drivers must limit the use of the whip at all times while on the racetrack.
Drivers can never reach back to whip a horse. All whipping movement must be done from the wrist. The forearm must remain perpendicular to the track when the whip is used.
For any infractions of the new rules, a driver can receive demerit points. The point system will not go into effect until the third race program at 3R.
Once a driver has accumulated more than three points, that driver is suspended from driving on the next race card. After a driver receives their first suspension, they will be put on probation and suspended from the next race card each time they receive an additional demerit point.
Any driver who receives any demerit points during the last month of racing at 3R, those points will carry over to the 2020 race season.
The demerit points will be awarded by a committee of three people who will be appointed by the Director of the Quebec Jockey Club. There will be no appeal mechanism. Neither the Director General nor the Director of the track and no members of the Board of Directors at the QJC will be able to reverse a decision of the committee.
“We realized last season that drivers need to carry a whip with them at all times on the racetrack,” Thomassin explained. “It is a tool they need to control the horse, but any abuse of the whip will no longer be tolerated.”
Live harness racing begins at Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, April 28, 2019.
(with files from the Quebec Jockey Club)