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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 11. Gaming
Agency 10. Virginia Racing Commission
Chapter 60. Participants
7/7/2020

11VAC10-60-120. Jockey.

A. Generally. A person shall submit an application to participate in horse racing as a jockey. The applicant shall submit to the stewards sufficient evidence that he is either a journeyman or apprentice jockey in Virginia or another jurisdiction and demonstrates sufficient horsemanship to ride in a race without jeopardizing the safety of horses or other jockeys.

B. Examinations. A jockey may be required to take a physical examination from a physician appointed by the stewards to establish that he possesses the physical ability to safely ride in races. A jockey may also be required to take an eye examination from a physician appointed by the stewards to establish he has eyesight sufficient to safely ride in races.

C. Apprentice jockey. If the person does not possess a currently valid permit in Virginia or another jurisdiction as an apprentice jockey, has not ridden satisfactorily in three races at a pari-mutuel meeting, or has never held a thoroughbred journeyman jockey permit, then the stewards may allow the person to ride probationary mounts in three races at a race meeting licensed by the commission under the following conditions:

1. That he is at least 16 years old;

2. That he has held a permit for at least one year as an exercise rider under the supervision of a person holding a permit as a trainer;

3. A trainer submits a notarized statement to the stewards that the person has been employed by him and has demonstrated sufficient horsemanship to be allowed to ride in three races at a race meeting licensed by the commission;

4. The starter has schooled the person from the starting gate with other horses and approves the person as capable of breaking a horse properly from the starting gate;

5. The stewards retain sole discretion of whether or not the person possesses the physical ability and has demonstrated sufficient horsemanship to ride in a race without jeopardizing the safety of horses or other jockeys; and

6. The stewards, in their discretion, may at any time deny the person the opportunity to ride in more races for cause.

If the person possesses a currently valid permit from another jurisdiction as an apprentice jockey or has ridden satisfactorily in three races at a pari-mutuel meeting, then the person must submit sufficient evidence to the stewards:

a. That he is at least 16 years old;

b. That he has ridden satisfactorily in at least three races at a pari-mutuel meeting; and

c. That he has demonstrated to the stewards sufficient horsemanship to ride in a race without jeopardizing the safety of horses or other jockeys.

D. Amateur jockey. A permit may be issued to a person desiring to participate in horse racing as an amateur jockey. The person shall compete on even terms when riding against professional jockeys, but he shall not accept any fees or gratuities. The person must meet all of the requirements for an apprentice jockey, and his amateur status must be noted on the program.

E. Steeplechase jockey. A permit may be issued to a person desiring to participate in horse racing as a jockey riding horses in steeplechase races. A person shall submit an application for the appropriate permit, meet all of the requirements pertaining to holders of permits as jockeys, and hold a currently valid license issued by the stewards of the National Steeplechase Association.

F. Foreign jockey. Whenever a jockey from a foreign country, excluding Mexico and Canada, rides in the United States, he must submit an application for a permit and declare that he is a holder of a valid permit and currently not under suspension. To facilitate this process, the jockey shall present a declaration sheet stating:

1. That he is the holder of a valid permit to ride;

2. That he is not currently under suspension; and

3. That he agrees to be bound by the rules and regulations of the jurisdiction in which he is riding.

This sheet shall be retained by the stewards and at the conclusion of the jockey's participation in racing, it shall be returned to the jockey, properly endorsed by the stewards, stating he has not incurred any penalty or had a fall. If a penalty has been assessed against the jockey, the stewards shall notify the racing authority issuing the original permit to extend the penalty for the same period of time.

G. Apprentice allowance. An apprentice jockey may claim the following weight allowances in all overnight races except stakes and handicaps:

1. A 10-pound allowance beginning with the first mount and continuing until the apprentice has ridden five winners.

2. A seven-pound allowance until the apprentice has ridden an additional 35 winners.

3. If an apprentice has ridden a total of 40 winners prior to the end of a period of one year from the date of riding his fifth winner, he shall have an allowance of five pounds for one year from the date of the fifth winning mount.

4. If, after a period of one year from the date of the fifth winning mount, the apprentice jockey has not ridden 40 winners, the applicable weight allowance shall continue for one more year or until the apprentice rides his 40th winning mount, whichever comes first. But in no event may a weight allowance be claimed for more than two years from the date of the fifth winning mount, unless an extension has been granted under the provisions of this regulation.

5. An apprentice who possesses a contractual agreement may claim an allowance of three pounds for an additional one year when riding horses owned or trained by the original contract employer.

H. Extension of apprentice allowance. The commission or its designee may extend the weight allowance of an apprentice jockey when an apprentice jockey is unable to continue riding due to (i) physical disablement or illness, (ii) military service, (iii) attendance in an institution of secondary or higher education, (iv) restriction on racing, or (v) other valid reasons.

1. In order to qualify for an extension, an apprentice jockey shall have been rendered unable to ride for a period of not less than seven consecutive days during the period in which the apprentice was entitled to an apprentice weight allowance. Under exceptional circumstances, the commission or its designee will give consideration to the total days lost collectively.

2. The commission or its designee shall have the authority to grant an extension to an eligible applicant, but only after the apprentice jockey has submitted documentation to them verifying the days lost as defined by this regulation.

3. An apprentice jockey may petition the commission or its designee for an extension of time for claiming apprentice weight allowances, and the apprentice jockey shall be bound by the decision of the commission or its designee. If the apprentice jockey has been denied an extension in another jurisdiction, the commission or its designee shall deny the application for an extension.

I. Jockey contracts. An apprentice jockey may enter into a contract with an owner or trainer, who holds an appropriate permit issued by the commission, for a period not less than three years nor more than five years. The following provisions shall apply to contracts for apprentice jockeys:

1. The original contract is to be submitted to the stewards with copies made available to the parties to the contract;

2. A written extension may be made to a contract, if the original was for less than five years;

3. The original contract shall be kept in full force and in effect throughout its contract period. Any and all amendments to the contract shall be made a part of and either added to or attached to copies in the possession of the parties and a copy of the amendments submitted to the stewards;

4. An owner or trainer may not enter into a contract with an apprentice jockey unless he has control or possession of a stable of horses as would, in the discretion of the stewards, warrant the employment of an apprentice;

5. An apprentice jockey may not acquire his own contract;

6. All apprentice jockey contracts must be submitted to the stewards within 30 days of their execution or upon filing an application for a permit;

7. The contract shall provide for fair remuneration, adequate medical attention, suitable board and lodging, workers' compensation insurance coverage, and provision for conserving the savings out of the earnings of the apprentice; and

8. Any apprentice or contract rider shall be entitled to the regular jockey fees, except when riding a horse owned in part or solely by his contract holder. An interest in the winnings only, e.g., a trainer's commission, does not constitute ownership.

J. Apprentice certificate. An apprentice jockey may be granted an apprentice certificate issued by the commission or its designee, in lieu of a traditional apprentice contract. An apprentice jockey who loses his weight allowances shall obtain a jockey permit before being permitted to ride again.

K. Restrictions of jockeys under contract. Any apprentice or journeyman jockey who is under a contract to an owner or trainer shall not:

1. Ride any horse not owned or trained by his contract employer in a race against a horse owned or trained by his contract employer;

2. Ride or agree to ride any horse in a race without consent of his contract employer; and

3. Share any money earned from riding with his contract employer.

L. Calls and engagements. Any jockey who is not prohibited by a contract may agree to give first or second calls on his services to any owner or trainer. If the agreement is for more than 30 days, then the agreement must be in writing and a copy of the agreement submitted to the stewards for approval. Any jockey employed by an owner or trainer on a regular salaried basis may not ride against the stable. No owner or trainer shall employ or engage a jockey to prevent him from riding another horse.

M. Naming of jockeys. A jockey shall be named to ride a horse in a race at a time designated by the racing secretary, and a subsequent change of a jockey shall be approved by the stewards. The following provisions shall apply to the naming of a jockey:

1. After a jockey gives a call to ride a horse in a race, either personally or through his agent, and fails to fulfill the engagement, he shall not accept another engagement in that race or be assigned by the stewards to another horse in that race;

2. In races where a jockey has more than one engagement, the jockey agent shall specify a first and second call on the jockey's services; and

3. A jockey may be named on no more than two horses in a race. In turf course races, in which there is an also-eligible list for the dirt course, a jockey may be named on no more than three horses, one of which shall be a dirt course only entrant.

N. Fee earned. A jockey's fee shall be considered earned when the jockey is weighed out by the clerk of scales. The fee shall not be considered earned if the jockey, of his own free will, takes himself off of his mount where injury to the horse or rider is not involved. Any conditions or considerations not covered by the above regulation shall be at the discretion of the stewards.

O. Multiple engagements. If any owner, or his trainer or authorized agent, engages two or more jockeys to ride the same horse in the same race after the time designated by the racing secretary to name jockeys, the owner shall pay the jockey taken off the horse a matching fee equal to that earned by the jockey who rode the horse. No owner shall be held liable for multiple engagements where such engagements are the results of actions taken by jockeys or their agents. An owner or trainer who elects to remove a jockey from his mount after the time designated by the racing secretary for naming jockeys may be subject to disciplinary action by the stewards.

P. Duty to fulfill engagements. A jockey shall fulfill his duly scheduled riding engagements, unless excused by the stewards. No jockey shall be forced to ride a horse he believes to be unsound or over a racing surface that he believes to be unsafe. If the stewards find that a jockey's refusal to fulfill a riding engagement is unwarranted, then the jockey may be subject to disciplinary action.

Q. Presence in jockey room. A jockey who has an engagement to ride in a race shall report his weight and be physically present in the jockeys' room at a time appointed by the stewards, unless excused by the stewards, and upon arrival shall report all of his engagements for the program to the clerk of scales. The following provisions shall apply:

1. In the event a jockey does not report to the clerk of scales at the appointed time, the clerk of scales shall advise the stewards who may name a substitute jockey and any substitution shall be publicly announced prior to the opening of wagering;

2. After reporting to the clerk of scales, a jockey shall remain in the jockeys' room until he has fulfilled all of his engagements for the program. A jockey may only leave to ride in a race or to view the races from a location approved by the stewards;

3. A jockey shall have no communication with any person outside the jockeys' room other than an owner or trainer for whom he is riding, a racing official, his jockey agent or a representative of the media; and

4. A jockey who intends to discontinue riding at a race meeting prior to its conclusion shall notify the stewards no later than upon fulfilling his final engagement of the day he intends to depart.

R. Attire. A jockey shall wear traditional attire and shall be neat and clean in appearance. A jockey shall wear the cap and jacket in the owner's racing colors, white breeches, top boots, protective helmet, safety vest which meets the minimum specifications as defined by the British Equestrian Trade Association, and a number on his right shoulder corresponding to the horse's number as shown on the saddle cloth and daily program.

S. Weighing out. A jockey shall report to the clerk of scales for weighing out, not more than one hour and not less than 15 minutes before post time for each race in which he is engaged to ride, and at the time of weighing out shall declare overweight, if any. The following provisions shall apply to weighing out:

1. A jockey shall not carry more than two pounds of overweight without the consent of the owner or trainer of the horse which he is engaged to ride; however, a jockey shall not carry more than five pounds of overweight;

2. Bit, blinkers, bridle, number cloth, reins, safety helmet, safety vest, whip, goggles, overgirth, chamois, and breastplate shall not be included in a jockey's weight;

3. All overweights shall be promptly reported to the stewards; and

4. No horse shall be disqualified because of overweight carried.

T. Weighing in. Following the completion of the race, a jockey shall ride his horse to the designated area, salute the stewards, dismount, remove from the horse his equipment, without assistance, which is to be included in a jockey's weight, and move directly to the scales where he may be weighed in by the clerk of scales. No person shall throw any covering over any horse until a jockey has removed from the horse his equipment which is to be included in a jockey's weight. Due to injury to either horse or jockey, the stewards may excuse the jockey from weighing in. A jockey shall not weigh in at less weight than he weighed out and no jockey shall weigh in at more than four pounds over the weight at which he weighed out, unless affected by the weather and with the permission of the stewards.

U. Wagering. A jockey may only have a wager placed for him through an owner or trainer of the horse he is riding in the race, and the jockey's wager shall only be on his horse to win. The owner or trainer placing the wager shall keep precise records of all wagers placed for a jockey and the record shall be available to the stewards upon request.

V. Viewing films. The stewards shall attempt to notify all jockeys who are requested to attend the reviewing of the films, and their names shall be posted on the film list. A jockey whose name is on the film list shall be present at the designated time and place to view the films of the race, unless excused by the stewards. A jockey may be accompanied by a representative of his choosing.

W. Designated races. A jockey who is serving a suspension of 10 days or less will be permitted to ride in a designated race during the suspension if:

1. The race has been specified as a designated race by the racing secretary before opening day of the race meeting.

2. The race has been approved as a designated race by the stewards.

3. The jockey is named not later than at the time designated by the racing secretary.

4. The jockey agrees to serve an additional day of suspension in place of the day on which the jockey rides in a designated race.

Reciprocity of this regulation will apply only to those jurisdictions which have adopted the designated race regulation.

Statutory Authority

§ 59.1-369 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR662-03-02 § 12, eff. August 14, 1991; amended, Volume 16, Issue 21, eff. August 4, 2000; Volume 26, Issue 20, eff. May 29, 2010.

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