Horse racing in North America in 2019 will be remembered for many difficult and unsettling issues.
One of those centered on the unprecedented disqualification of MAXIMUM SECURITY in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The colt drifted out off the turn and caused interference to rivals but while he was essentially swarmed after that, he came back on to win. He was likely the best horse no matter what.
“Likely” the best horse.
There are currently two different approaches to adjudicating interference used in racing jurisdictions around the world: Category 1 and Category 2 (used in North America).
Category 1 states that Judges and Stewards may disqualify a horse only if it improved its finishing position because of that interference, or in cases of dangerous riding.
The Category 2 approach provides Judges and Stewards with the authority to disqualify a horse if, in their opinion, it interfered with another horse regardless of whether the interference was accidental, willful, or the result of careless riding.
In Thoroughbred racing, Category 2 is used exclusively in North America, and Category 1 is used in every other jurisdiction. Several countries have switched from Category 2 to Category 1 in the last decade, including France and Germany who most recently switched in 2018.
In Standardbred racing, several jurisdictions have indicated that they are exploring switching from Category 2 to Category 1, but the majority remain as Category 2, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand who are Category 1.
Quarter Horse racing is predominantly conducted in North America and follows the Category 2 approach. To our knowledge, a switch to Category 1 has not been discussed in Quarter Horse racing.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission is seeking feedback from bettors, horsepeople etc. with a short survey complete with videos and it really gets one thinking about what really is the best way to approach interference rules and governing.
What do you think? Answer the survey before Jan. 20 either online, written, etc.