Jockeys at Del Mar will now begin using new equine-friendly crops in all races. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has become the first track in California to ban the older, harder leather whips that cause stinging and welts on the horses.
The use of the new crops will be a house rule at the track beginning Wednesday. This new rule came at the urging of animal rights activists and industry leaders like Bo Derek, who recently became a member of the board for the California Horse Racing Board.
The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has purchased 40 crops so that an adequate number will be available to jockeys.
"This is a great step for racing," said Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez. "All the jocks discussed it and wanted to make this move. It's good for racing and we wanted to be at the forefront."
With the new riding crop, horses react to the popping sound instead of the stinging from the older whips, said Gomez.