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  • Michael Consani

Consani’s Corner-In New York, Love & Marriage can lead to Racing Scratches


There are many strange rules in the world of horse racing. There’s the rule that for a horse to win the race, the jockey must be on the horse when it crosses the finish line, even though you’re betting on the horse and not the jockey. There’s also rules regarding how to name a horse and what’s allowed and not allowed.

But one of the strangest rules has come under fire of late in New York; specifically rule 4025.10 (f), which states, “All horses trained or ridden by a spouse, parent, issue or member of a jockey’s household shall be coupled in the betting with any horse ridden by such jockey.”

What this means is if a pair of jockeys are married, for them to ride in the same race, they would have to be part of a coupled entry during the race. So, by simply being named by a trainer to pilot a horse, they would be forced to be 1 and 1A during the race, even if the horses are owned and trained by different connections.

Another scenario where this rule impacts the world of racing, often during the course of a race card, jockeys get hurt or are unable to fulfill their planned mounts. A trainer then has to find a jockey to replace the original rider. If the trainer selects a jock who is married to another rider already in the race, that horse is then scratched to the betting public and only is allowed to race for purse money.

Both these situations have occurred recently in the past few weeks during NYRA’s Aqueduct winter meet. Two well renowned jockeys Trevor McCarthy and Katie Davis were recently married and have been working the NYRA circuit this winter. Because of this archaic rule, if they are named to ride in the same race when the card is drawn up, they have to be entered as a coupled entry. Clearly, this rule might want to persuade the connections to look elsewhere for a rider.

In speaking to Davis, the feeling she has was that the rule was put in years ago as a way to protect the betting public from race fixing by a married couple. Where it can get dangerous is that people can assume guilt of race fixing without any proof at all.

There are plenty of jockeys who ride the same races who are siblings or otherwise related, Davis included, where this rule does not affect them. Davis is part of a famous racing family as both her brother Dylan and sister Jackie ride and they are not forced to be part of the same entry.

When asked why other jockeys who are related are not affected by this rule, Davis says it only impacts siblings who live together. “For Trevor and I, the rule stands because we live together” says Davis but she is quick to point out that they do not have joint bank accounts and they do not drive to the track together—two other aspects of the rule-- because sometimes one has a race mid card and the other is racing at the end of the day and neither wants to just sit around all day and wait.

Recently, because there was a rider change to a race that Davis was already scheduled to ride and McCarthy had a pick-up mount, the horse that McCarthy rode appeared to be scratched to the betting public but ran for purse money only. So, the horse can still affect the pace of the race and be a factor to all the other horses and jockeys but can not be bet by either the owner of the horse or anyone else.

It appears that there is a chance this rule can be changed but these things take months to happen, long after the meet is over. In a time when the industry needs to do more to attract quality trainers and jockeys, New York’s gaming commission needs to do all it can to make improvements and repealing this rule would be a step in the right direction.

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-Michael Consani

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