These Points of Emphasis are subject to the following LEGAL PROVISIONS - Please Read Carefully
ROAP 2019-2020 POINTS OF EMPHASIS
The ROAP Points of Emphasis are established by the ROAP stewards’ advisory committee and approved by the board of directors. They are designed to provide guidelines to follow for continuing education programs. Additionally, these points of emphasis are distributed to all working stewards and racing authorities to promote awareness and uniformity.
POINT OF EMPHASIS # 1
Aftercare and Horse Welfare
POINT OF EMPHASIS # 2
Interference Rules and Protocols; Consistency in Interference Decisions
Most jurisdictions have adopted the ARCI Model Rule for the running of the race during flat racing. In terms of interference philosophy, this is considered a Category 2 philosophy. (Information about Category 1 and Category 2 is at the end of the document.)
ARCI Model Rule 010-035 Running of the Race
E. Post to Finish
(2) Interference, Jostling or Striking
(a) A jockey shall not ride carelessly or willfully so as to permit his/her mount to interfere with, impede or intimidate any other horse in the race.
(b) No jockey shall carelessly or willfully jostle, strike or touch another jockey or another jockey's ’horse or equipment.
(c) No jockey shall unnecessarily cause his/her horse to shorten its stride so as to give the appearance of having suffered a foul.
(3) Maintaining a Straight Course
(a) When the way is clear in a race, a horse may be ridden to any part of the course, but if any horse swerves, or is ridden to either side, so as to interfere with, impede or intimidate any other horse, it is a foul.
(b) The offending horse may be disqualified, if in the opinion of the stewards, the foul altered the finish of the race, regardless of whether the foul was accidental, willful or the result of careless riding.
(c) If the stewards determine the foul was intentional, or due to careless riding, the jockey may be held responsible.
(d) In a straightaway race, every horse must maintain position as nearly as possible in the lane in which it starts. If a horse is ridden, drifts or swerves out of its lane in such a manner that it interferes with, impedes or intimidates another horse, it is a foul and may result in the disqualification of the offending horse.
(a) When the stewards determine that a horse shall be disqualified for interference, they may place the offending horse behind such horses as in their judgment it interfered with, or they may place it last.
(b) If a horse is disqualified for a foul, any horse or horses in the same race owned or trained by the same interests, whether coupled or uncoupled may also be disqualified.
The key is determining if, as highlighted in (3)(b) above, the foul altered the finish or outcome of the race. As experienced stewards know, this can be a difficult decision to make, as each incident can have variable factors to consider. These factors include contact, intimidation, altered course, checked, pulled up, clipped heels, no room, no opening, blocked, herded, forced wide, in tight, accelerating, decelerating, continued to ride, race riding, and other terms commonly used by stewards to explain their decision-making process. Being consistent can be difficult as the factors involved in making the decision to disqualify or not are rarely the same.
Stewards, however, must try to be as consistent as possible. Being uniform in how they go about making their decisions will improve consistency. Hanging the inquiry sign as soon as the stewards know they have an incident that requires review and potentially a decision is the first step. The jockeys, horsemen and fans want to know that you are looking even if a disqualification is probably not warranted. Race replay videos should be reviewed from all possible angles. Jockeys, patrol judges, starter, and outriders should be talked to whenever pertinent. Claims of foul by jockeys and trainers obviously require the same scrutiny.
A written record in a journal or data file online of the stewards’ decisions on all inquiries and objections, whether or not there was a disqualification, will help with consistency. The transparency of producing and posting a written description of the incident and explanation of why the stewards made their decision, including referencing the applicable rule on the Internet and in the racing office and jockey room, will help jockeys, horsemen and fans better understand the decision-making process.
Reviewing the race replay video with the jockeys prior to the next race day helps the jockeys recognize all of the factors involved in the process. This also gives the jockeys the opportunity to disagree and often offer constructive comments. Giving trainers and owners the same opportunity to review the race replay videos with the stewards the next day will help with transparency. The horsemen will begin to appreciate all the factors involved in making these difficult decisions. In addition, stewards may not always be correct, and routine race replay review will help them be more effective and consistent.
Simulcasting, whereby a racing fan might see decisions on interference made by stewards at five or more tracks in a given day, will show the inconsistency between boards of stewards across jurisdictions. To try to be more consistent across the country, stewards should avail themselves of the opportunity to watch races and race replays from other tracks, especially incidents of interference and disqualifications. In addition, all ROAP accredited stewards have access to the ROAP Video Library, where the viewer is asked to make the call on a disqualification for interference. To access the video library on the ROAP website, click “Education,” “Continuing Education,” and then “Races for Review.” Further, race replay review at Stewards’ Continuing Education Seminars is an excellent way to review, discuss, and improve consistency among the tracks in that region and nationally.
Category 1 vs. Category 2 Philosophies
Internationally there are two categories of interference. These two philosophies outline methods of adjudicating interference infractions to determine the final placings in a race. Historically, North America, South America, France, and Germany have subscribed to a Category 2 philosophy and all other major racing countries subscribe to the Category 1 philosophy. At the fall 2017 IFHA meetings in Paris, (per press release) “The Executive Council of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) unanimously approved a change to its International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering (IABRW), as recommended by its International Harmonisation of Raceday Rules Committee (IHRRC), to establish a model interference rule.” This model interference rule subscribes to the Category 1 philosophy. Since that time, South America, France, and Germany have committed to changing to the Category 1 philosophy, which leaves North America as the only major racing country with the Category 2 philosophy.
The IABRW model interference rule (Article 32 section 5) is below:
If, in the opinion of the Staging Authority’s relevant judicial body, a horse or its rider causes interference and finishes in front of the horse interfered with but irrespective of the incident(s) the sufferer would not have finished ahead of the horse causing the interference, the judge’s placings will remain unaltered.
If, in the opinion of the Staging Authority’s relevant judicial body, a horse or its rider causes interference and finishes in front of the horse interfered with and if not for the incident(s) the sufferer would have finished ahead of the horse causing the interference, the interferer will be placed immediately behind the sufferer.
Racing Authorities may, within their Rules, provide for the disqualification of a horse from a race in circumstances in which the Staging Authority’s relevant judicial body deems that the rider has ridden in a dangerous manner.
Category 1 –
If not for the interference, the offended horse would have beaten the horse causing the interference, then the offending horse shall be demoted and placed behind the offended horse. In this instance, the stewards look at the horses involved in the interference and if one would have beaten the other if not for the interference.
Category 2 –
The offending horse shall be disqualified (demoted), if in the opinion of the stewards, the foul altered the finish of the race irrespective of whether the horse that caused the interference is convincing in its placing. In other words, the offended horse was cost the opportunity for a better placing.
While ROAP has not taken a direct position on the category philosophies, ROAP continues to teach to the ARCI model rule (Category 2) and stresses the importance of consistency and uniformity in day-to-day decision making by the stewards.
POINT OF EMPHASIS # 3
POINT OF EMPHASIS # 4
POINT OF EMPHASIS # 5
Media Relations for Stewards
The old saying, “inquiring minds need to know,” certainly holds true today in an era of social media, instant Internet access, and immediate communications. When stewards make a decision on an interference incident in a horse race, Twitter can start buzzing and the stewards’ phones’ ringing before all the horses have left the track. Having a plan on how to disseminate information is essential for every board of stewards.
The Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP) has been addressing media relations for stewards since the organization was formed. There is an excellent brief overview in the “Racing Officials Resource Guide” under “Working with the Media” in the table of contents under “Miscellaneous Topics.” This guidebook was compiled by Don Clippinger, the former editor of Thoroughbred Times, and can be purchased from the ROAP office at 859-224-2702.
The annual ROAP Points of Emphasis included topics pertinent to media relations in:
These Points of Emphasis have detailed explanations and recommendations that can be accessed on the ROAP website at horseracingofficials.com/education/continuing-education/points_of_emphasis.
Any board of stewards’ media relations plan should be developed prior to the beginning of the race meet. The stewards should work with the racetrack public relations staff and racing authority/commission media spokespersons to create a plan. Information that the media relations plan should convey includes:
Once the media relations plan has been developed begin implementation. This should happen before the race meet begins, realizing that some aspects of the plan will have to be completed during the racing season.
The following are some dos and don’ts for media relations.
Good media relations are essential for the promotion of horse racing. Realize that the board of stewards has the opportunity to educate the media and racing fans as to the rules and reasons that affect your decision-making process. Let them know up front that your primary concerns are the safety of the participants, both the horses and the horsemen and women, and the integrity of the sport and business of horse racing.