Crop rules, more: The week in social media
Fire’s Finale rallied to win the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes. Photo by Nikki Sherman/EQUI-PHOTO.
The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December Mixed Sale took place this week, the ARCI toughened its recommended riding crop rules, and the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes took place at Parx Racing.
Here is the 411 on what racing fans in the Mid-Atlantic region have been talking about on social media over this past week:
Fasig-Tipton mixed takes place
The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December Mixed Sale took place this past Tuesday. Numbers this year were down significantly compared to the 2019, though they were in line with other recent years.
A total of 182 horses found new homes on Tuesday, bringing a total of $2,345,600 through the sale. The total was down 46 percent compared to 2019, when the sale brought a total of $4,383,700 when 249 horses sold. The average sale price on Tuesday was $12,888, which was a 27 percent drop from the 2019 sale which saw an average of $17,605. When it was all said and done, the buyback rate rounded out at 23 percent, whereas the buyback rate in 2019 landed at 18 percent.
The biggest difference: in 2019 owner-breeder Joe Besecker sold more than 90 horses in what was billed as a dispersal, while this year, he sent only 27 through the ring.
Tuesday’s sale topper was a three-year-old filly by Palace Malice, who commanded a final bid of $195,000. Consigned by Northview Stallion Station, the sale topper, named Fly On Angel, was bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall and Haymarket Farm. Owned by Joseph Besecker and trained by Claudio Gonzalez prior to the sale, Fly On Angel has currently won four of her eleven starts, including the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks, and has banked earnings of $226,660. The filly now belongs to Cypress Creek LLC who placed the winning bid.
ARCI toughens riding crop rule
The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) tightened up its model rules on riding crops this past week. Under the proposed new rule, jockeys can only strike the crop twice in a row before having to wait for three full strides to be completed by the horse before the crop can be used again.
The purpose of allowing the horse to complete three strides before using the crop again is to allow the animal adequate time to respond to the whip before being struck again. Additionally, while a specific strike count was not stated in the new rule, the guidance recommends that stewards review cases in which a rider is seen using the whip more than six times in a single race.
Riding crop rules are put into place for both the welfare of the animal and for the integrity and image of the sport. However, there is debate about strike limits: should they exist at all? Why six? Why not eight, or four, or some other number? What is the logic behind the number, and would that stand up if challenged?
There are many different tracks and many different lengths of races run, and as a result some feel that the use of the crop should be adjusted accordingly. Either way, the move is clearly part of the sport’s general trend towards tougher rules limiting crop use.
In the near future, the RCI committees plans on announcing penalty guidelines that will be set in place should anyone be found responsible for abusing an animal at the track.
Fire’s Finale heats up
Fire’s Finale, a Pennsylvania-bred son of Jump Start, claimed his first black-type win this week, bounding to glory in the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes.
Contested at the distance of seven furlongs on the Parx main track, the 2020 edition of the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes attracted a field of 12 runners. Fire’s Finale, who was fresh off of breaking his maiden in his previous start, raced off of the pace before rallying four-wide in the stretch to take command. With jockey Mychel Sanchez in the saddle, Fire’s Finale willingly challenged Kidnapped in the stretch and soon put his foe away, winning by a length in 1:25.35.
Bred by Kenwood LLC, Fire’s Finale is owned in partnership by Kenwood Racing LLC and Degaetano and Pastore, Inc. The bay colt is trained by Kelly Breen and has two wins from seven starts and earnings of $108,315.
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