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Rispoli, Van Dyke Suspended for Riding Crop Violations

Most riding crop penalties have been fines, increasing with each offense.

Edward Whitaker/Racing Post

Stewards at Santa Anita Park have issued three-day suspensions over the past week to jockeys Umberto Rispoli and Drayden Van Dyke for riding crop infractions. The suspensions follow fines for earlier violations.

Strict regulations took effect in California in October, requiring jockeys to use crops in an underhand manner and no more than two times in succession without giving a horse a chance to respond. Horses also cannot be struck more than six times during a race.

Most penalties have been fines, increasing with each offense, up to $1,000.

Van Dyke has been suspended Jan. 17-18 and Jan. 22, cited for his fourth riding-crop offense over the past 60 days when aboard Ultimate Hy for a runner-up finish in the third race at Santa Anita Jan. 9. Rispoli has been suspended Jan. 16-18, also for his fourth offense in a 60-day period, for a violation on Mac Daddy Too, winner of the fifth race Jan. 8 at Santa Anita.

Many riders oppose the new rules. Last October, shortly after the regulations took effect, Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith sent a letter to the California Horse Racing Board, which was published in the Paulick Report, writing that the regulations had impacted multiple races over a given weekend by not allowing jockeys to maximize the placings of their mounts.

According to the CHRB documents, public perception and the industry's desire to treat horses in a humane manner were motivating factors in applying the new rules.