3R Drivers On Whipless Races

Published: November 16, 2018 01:31 pm EST

For the last two days of live harness racing at Hippodrome 3R, the drivers in all the races -- both this Sunday and next Sunday -- will drive without whips.

The Quebec Jockey Club, which oversees the racing at H3R, announced last week that they were going to experiment with “whipless” racing the last two days of the race meet.

In North America, whipless racing has taken place at a few tracks including Plainridge Racecourse and the former Indiana Downs years ago. Australia was to go whipless in 2017, but that move has been put on hold while more research is done.

Norway is the only country in Europe that has banned whipping in all harness racing and that began some 40 years ago in the 1970’s.

“This is an experiment of pari-mutuel racing without whips,” said Director of Racing Murielle Thomassin. “There will be absolutely no whips allowed on the track these two special days.

“Our society is very conscious of animal welfare,” Thomassin continued. “The Quebec Jockey Club is ready to change with the society and evolve in a sport where the horse is our pride and joy. We must respect and protect them at all cost.”

Some of the drivers competing this Sunday at H3R gave their opinions on the upcoming trial of whipless racing.

“I agree with strict rules for the use of the whip,” said Daniel Laflamme. “We need the whip to control the horse in certain circumstances. It’s our only working tool to bring the horse back to order and protect us.”

“I do not feel good about not having a whip,” Jocelyn Gendron explained. “It is our way to be able to stimulate a horse without abusing the whip. To remove it completely may be dangerous.”

“I am happy that the QJC is taking steps to increase the customer base and the vitality of the races,” said Pierre Luc Roy. “I also agree that measures need to be taken to reduce the use of the whip, however I do not believe that removing the whip is a good idea.”

“It is OK for a test day for two,” Pascal Berube said, “but not for all of next year. It’s not a solution to make racing more appealing.”

“If it will help the racetrack then I am happy to drive without a whip,” Simon Delisle said. “We will see this Sunday how it goes. “The public does not like the whip.”

There are 11 races this Sunday for the first day of whipless racing at H3R.

“We will see how the racing goes these two days without whips,” Thomassin said. “We will study the races themselves and the wagering patterns too and maybe come up with some changes for the 2019 harness racing season in Quebec.”

First race post time Sunday is 12:50 p.m. For a free race program, visit quebecjockeyclub.com. To view the entries for Sunday's card, click the following link: Sunday Entries - Hippodrome 3R.

(with files from the Quebec Jockey Club)



I do not get how these drivers say "they need it", but Norway gets along just fine without it and hasnt for decades? Are the local drivers unable to ask or talk to Norweigen drivers or sit and watch them race?

If there is not abuse, no one minds the whip, exception, little group of people that always complain for every decision made. Why do we stop and listen to those little groups?? It s seem there is group of people for everything now a days.

Those horses are so lucky to be spoiled like they are, those group of people never seen the caretakers spoil their horses for not much money and just for the love of the horse/game.

Let s take care of the abusers (fines etc) and disregard the small voices....

Les jockeys qui ont peur sans fouette non qu'â pas coursé,ils peuvent se protéger avec les guides.Un cheval bien entraîné et bien préparé pour la course il sait ou il doit passé car
il voit tout devant lui.

Le probleme c est pas le fouet il devrais resté c est le conducteur qui ambitionne devrais avoir une restriction a abusé trop du fouet pendant la course simplement mon point de vue