Jockey Jose Ferrer leads the Monmouth Park jockey standings with nine wins thus far, and spoke this week to Horse Racing Nation about the New Jersey Racing Commission’s whip rules. The strictest in the country, the regulations allow jockeys to only utilize the whip for reasons of safety, but to not encourage the horse to run faster.
Several riders, including Monmouth’s perennial leading jockey Joe Bravo, have chosen not to return to New Jersey under the new regulations, citing safety concerns.
“At the beginning I was a little worried, a little concerned, but then when I started riding I felt comfortable out there,” Ferrer told HRN. “We are all in the same boat. It’s not like this guy can hit and this guy can’t. I’ve told the guys, it’s a different kind of riding now. We have to protect each other a little more. It’s doable, you just have to be a little more careful.”
Ferrer has found a way to win without the riding crop, and said there’s no discernable bias in terms of racing style, but he added that some lazier horses have been “barely blowing” when coming back to be unsaddled.
“You won’t see the best performance out of these animals — that’s what’s really going to hurt our sport here in New Jersey in the long run,” Ferrer explained. “We coach these horses, that final quarter mile, tap them on the shoulders and let them know, ‘We have to go.’ It’s time for 110 percent. Horses don’t understand language. You can’t just tell them, hey let’s go. That’s what we’re really going to miss.”
Read more at Horse Racing Nation.
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