Whipping Pilot Program At WEG

Published: April 8, 2009 02:45 pm EDT

The Ontario Racing Commission has announced that for a two week period starting Thursday, April 9 the drivers at Woodbine Racetrack will be required to drive the entire mile with a line in each hand


This new pilot is an outcome of the work of the Standardbred Use of the Whip Working Group, which has been meeting over the winter to develop recommended changes to how the whip is used in Ontario horseracing.

The purpose of the pilot is to allow the drivers an opportunity to provide input on how a new rule will be developed, which will make it a requirement that a line be kept in each hand for the entire mile. Currently the Ontario Rule 22.23.01 (d) requires a line in each hand only to the head of the stretch. This short term change in the rules has been authorized through the issuance of Ruling SB40/2009 by executive director John Blakney.

Opportunity for Input

Fans, customers, industry participants and drivers are all encouraged to compare the product on the racetrack during this pilot and provide their feedback directly to the judges and the Use of the Whip Working Group, as follows:

• Contact the ORC Judges at Woodbine directly at (416) 675-7223
• Email: [email protected]
• Fax: 416-213-7827

To view an official copy of the notice and the related ruling, click here.


The safety factor comes into play now.When the drivers do whip with hand in hand hold the line steering the horse is completely slack and the horse isn`t being driven at that point and could bear in or out?Not under control!
I prefer the driver put both hand holds into one hand maintaing steering control and then use whip with free hand as its been done for decades.If you aalow the whip used in this way there is no injury to the animal as the whip lands on the leather saddle pad.

Alex De Ridder

Yip...sure will be intersting to see the difference the short term whipping rule will make!! It can only be a good sign for the animals!! Some of these horses out there will wonder what the devil has happened to them...not getting beat on so heavy handedly!! I agree with so many that they need to STOP the drivers being able to whip these animals between the legs on their genitles....HOW PAINFUL MUST THAT BE!!!!...i cannot imagine running your heart out & being beaten there...& you just have no gas left...horrid!! One friend seen a horse having been so badly beaten there....that she thought it had just been gelded!!!! NO NEED!!

Larry Resnitzky

The WEG and the industry in general continues to make progress on many fronts. Harness racing marketing and communications technology has given the sport a chance. So has its affiliation with Slots and government support. The evolution of the sport and the potential to attract more fans will come as older lonstanding attitudes by some begin to be overtaken by a more progressive view and a lighter set of hands.

In my 50 years enjoying the sport as a fan and small owner I've seen the best and worst exhibitions of driving as it relates to the whip. The worst have included a few drivers who have whipped their horses after the wire or continuously at the top of the lane and down the stretch as their horses began to fade with every crack of the whip.
The best have operated within the rules and used the whip sparingly or to avoid potential accidents. Some of the most talented drivers I have seen include Hall of Famers who know how to rate and not berate a horse. These include but are not limited to greats like Jacques Hebert, Wally Hennessey, and Trevor Ritchie, all particulary good with trotters which are less tolerant of poorly disciplined drivers. The world of harness racing is moving away from the indiscriminate use of the whip to a style that will be more appealing to the horse, some of the older guard, and a majority of soon to be fans. We are taking a step in the right direction.

Norm files your absolutely right about the handhelds.

This is why they have to ban the whip all together.Jody Jamieson in the 11th race on Friday on the two,whips the horse between the legs of the horse at least 8 times down the stretch.Least see if their is a fine handed out?

Karen Sanderson

Looks like the Meadowlands will be gettin my few hundred bucks tonight. Well done ORC. You have now solved all the Harness Racing woes in Ontario.

Zac Zacharia

Jody isnt the only driver on the circiut to put the whip between the horses legs!
Secondly, as I said before...Most of the younger drivers today have the handholds so far back, they will still be able to get a good wind up!..The handholds must also be addessed imo.

Norm Files

These experiments at Woodbine are making me sick.

God what will they think up next.

They are effectively trying to destroy harness racing as we know it.

Lateef Siddiqui

Got to be there live at WEG. April 9 or 10. It will be like being at Maple Leaf Gardens to watch the Maple Leafs play broom ball. But i will wager that the true stars will still shine.

A whip is a "tool" that enhances the performance of a horse.Have you ever seen a driver whipping a horse down the STRETCH to slow it down?These drivers use the whip at their discretion.One week not using it the other week hitting a horse 10 times or more.This is equivalent to playing poker against someone that was allowed to keep a ace up their sleeve and were able to use this ace whenever they felt like enhancing the performance of their hand!

There is nothing worse for a handicapper then to watch the driver of the horse he/she bet walk it down the stretch while 1 or more drivers zoom by whipping their horses.Then to add insult,you see the same horse and driver out next week getting the same trip but this time the driver is whipping the horse!There is absolutely no consistency in using a whip,but there is in NOT using one.

Lets see how affective Jody Jamieson will be now that he won't be able to whip between the horses legs?

Karen Sanderson

Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.