Why Does a Jockey Use a Whip?

Why Does a Jockey Use a Whip?  Basically, there are two reasons a jockey uses a whip: to steer and make the horse go faster.

In bygone days of horse racing, you may well have seen a jockey use the whip much more vigorously than today.

Animal welfare was in its infancy and the desire to win come at all costs. The whip was used as a ‘tool’ to encourage a horse to go faster. In essence, punished to run faster, the goal to win.

The whip has been associated with animal cruelty.

These days, the spectacle of a horse being hit countless times is a less common sight.

In 2011, the British Horse Racing Association changed the whip rules nearly halving the number of times a horse can be struck to 7 strokes for the Flat and 8 for the National Hunt. And a maximum of 5 strokes in the final furlong or after the last obstacle.

Whip rules include:

1) The manner in which the whip was used, including the degree of force

2) The purpose for which the whip was used

3) The distance over which the whip was used and whether the number of times it was used was reasonable and necessary

4) Whether the horse was continuing to respond

If a jockey is in breach of the rules the stewards will give a penalty for the offence resulting in suspension of days racing and/or monetary fine.

These rules are updated on a regular basis.

Thankfully, the days gross abuse of the whip are a thing of the past but animal welfare is an important subject for the protection of horses within racing and the how the use of the whip is viewed and perceived.

There are races which do not allow the use of the whip called ‘hands and heels’ and even if a whip is carried it may only be used in cases where a horse is out of control.

There is scientific evidence that whipping a horse doesn’t make it run faster although others considered the data biased. (It was funded by the RSPCA)

Perhaps the day will come when the use of the whip is abolished.

How many times did Bill Shoemaker win the American Triple Crown?

How many times did Bill Shoemaker win the American Triple Crown?

William Lee ‘Bill’ Shoemaker, a.k.a. ‘The Shoe’, rode his first winner on April 20, 1949 and his last on January 20, 1990. On September 7, 1970, Shoemaker broke the world record for winners ridden by a professional jockey, 6,032, set by English-born Johnny Longden four years earlier. Indeed, at the time of his retirement, Shoemaker had amassed 8,833 career winners, thereby setting a record that would stand until December 10, 1999, when broken by Panamanian-born Laffit Pincay Jr.. Pincay Jr.’s record has since been beaten, nay obliterated, by Canadian-born Russell Baze and, subsequently, by Brazilian-born Jorge Ricardo. Even so, three decades after his retirement from the saddle, Shoemaker remains the fourth most prolific jockey in horse racing history.

However, for all his success, it may come as a surprise to read that Shoemaker never won the American Triple Crown. He won each of the individual Triple Crown races – namely the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes – more than once, but never all three races in the same season. In fact, the closest Shoemaker came to doing so was aboard Damascus who, in 1967, finished third behind Proud Clarion in the Kentucky Derby before winning the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. All told, Shoemaker won the Belmont Stakes five times, in 1957, 1959, 1962, 1967 and 1975, Kentucky Derby four times, in 1955, 1959, 1965 and 1986 and Preakness Stakes twice, in 1963 and 1967.

Can You Win Betting Odds-On?

Can You Win Betting Odds-On?  While many gamblers shy away from betting odds-on others consider them a sure-fire winner.

The term: ‘Buying money comes to mind’.

Are you a favourites man?

I must admit, I’ve bet odds on bets infrequently. Although the chance of the given horse winning is statically greater a short price always brings concerns. For example, betting at odds of ½ favourite sees a wager of £100 to win £50. With stake money a return of £150. As they say: ‘Not too much bang for your buck.’

My speciality of betting two-year-old race horses has given a greater insight to the pros and cons of betting at such short odds.

For the everyday punter, there is little point in betting a score to win a cockle (£20 to win £10). So, perhaps, the big bettors only come out to play when they jolly is backed to prohibited odds. If you bet odds on and make money you’re doing something right. If you are losing and chasing your losses, you don’t need me to finish this sentence…

The best thing about betting odds on is that you have the confidence of the market on your side. If you could look at the bookmaker’s book you would see that about 70% of all money bet on the given race is placed on the favourite. However, it doesn’t mean your selection is guaranteed to win. From my studies, when a horse is priced ¼ it is very hard to beat. So it should be if you have bet £8,000 to win £2,000.

It’s all fine and dandy as long as the horse wins.

It’s like taking money from a bookmaker.

The trouble starts when you have a loser. If you have a few quid in the betting bank you may be able to withstand the odd loser. If you’re in the red, you may find you struggle to ever get back in profit.

There is an assumption that if you bet big money (a few grand a time) that all you need to do is bet odds on shots and you are laughing all the way to the bank. This is simply an old wives tale. If you specialise betting odds ons you need to be very selective and have a skill set and knowledge which means you can pick between the good, bad and ugly bets.

With regard to two-year-old betting, you are much more likely to bet an odds on winner second start, while debutantes are often a recipe for disaster. Also, a horse with a string placed efforts is a worrying sign for odds on backers.

I’d leave well alone.

If it seems a good idea to make easy money you are in for a shock.

As ex-professional gambler Dave Nevison said: ‘There’s no easy money.’

Those words are most fotting for those who love to bet odds on.

How is ‘starting price’ determined?

How is 'starting price' determined?  Traditionally, the starting price (SP) of any horse was determined by sampling the prices available, to ‘good’ money – or, in other words, to lose at least £500 in a single bet – from a selection of on-course bookmakers at the scheduled off time. Having compiled a list of prices, typically from a sample of between six and 24 bookmakers, SP reporters would order that list from longest to shortest, divide it in two and return the shortest price in the top half as the official SP. Thus, the SP, or a longer price, would have been available from at least half the bookmakers sampled.

However, having considered the decision ‘long and hard’, according to its chairman, Lord Donoghue, the Starting Price Regulatory Commission (SPRC) announced, in March, 2021, that it was moving away from the traditional SP system. With horse racing forced behind closed doors, as the result of the Covid-19 pandemic, on-course betting has dwindled away to almost negligible proportions, prompting the introduction of an SP system using mainly off-course odds. As and when bookmakers return to racecourses, on-course prices are expected to contribute between 10% and 12.5% to the overall sample.

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