Racing commissioner Christine C. White on Monday gave notice to Michiganís harness horse racing industry that effective May 1 strict penalties and suspensions will be awarded those harness drivers who excessively use a whip on a horse during a race.
"The health, safety and welfare of the horses remain a top priority," said commissioner White. "This recent policy builds on our existing rule which prohibits the excessive use of a whip during a race."
Michiganís updated policy states that the stewards shall define excessive or indiscriminate use by: a) more than three (3) consecutive strikes without a change in action, b) causing visible injury to a horse, and/or c) whipping a horse after a race.
All penalties, including suspensions and fines, shall be progressive with repeated violations, the record of which shall be maintained over a driverís lifetime. Any days assessed as a suspension will be defined as actual days that live racing is scheduled in the State of Michigan for the breed in which the offense occurred.
For a complete copy of the recent measures being taken by the Michigan Office of Racing Commissioner regarding the use of a whip, visit www.michigan.gov/horseracing.