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Bill to End NY Jockey Coupling Rule Reaches Governor

Legislation inspired by married jockeys Trevor McCarthy and Katie Davis.

Trevor McCarthy and Katie Davis

Trevor McCarthy and Katie Davis

Courtesy of Maryland Jockey Club

Even though they had left the Empire State in the spring, jockeys Trevor McCarthy and Katie Davis might soon have something of a New York legacy for the story they inspired: a new state law.

Lawmakers on Oct. 13 delivered to Gov. Kathy Hochul legislation given final approval in June to end a New York racing rule that required horses ridden by McCarthy and Davis to be coupled for wagering purposes if they rode in the same race.

The jockeys, wed last December, learned of the rule after relocating to New York.

"It is 2021, and you shouldn't be able to stop people from making a living,'' Davis said in a BloodHorse story earlier this year.

Legislation was approved earlier this year in Albany to rescind what a bill memo from its sponsors called a "sexist and outdated" rule by the state's Gaming Commission.

The memo states that the rule "limits women jockeys from fully pursuing their chosen career" by mandating that all horses trained or ridden by a spouse, parent, or member of a jockey's household be coupled in the betting with any horse ridden by, in the case of McCarthy and Davis, each other. It meant their horses would receive the same odds if they rode against each other.

The legislation was sponsored by Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, a Democrat who represents Saratoga, and Sen. Joseph Addabbo, a Queens Democrat who chairs the Senate racing, gaming, and wagering committee. The bill passed, unanimously, in the Assembly in May and in the Senate in June.

The legislation was part of a package of 41 different bills sent Wednesday to Hochul for her consideration. She has 10 days to act on the legislation, and she is expected to sign it into law.

A bill memo from the sponsors notes that the rule "adversely impacted" McCarthy and Davis because it required the New York Racing Association to couple their entries if they rode in the same race. "No such mandate applies to brothers, nor does one exist in Maryland, where the couple previously raced,'' the memo states.

"The Gaming Commission's regulation does not impact the husband's value in New York—he gets plenty of races. In contrast, she has not, despite coming into this season off two strong years in Maryland,'' the memo added.

The couple said they had no idea about the New York rule—number 404.2—until moving to New York to race earlier this year at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The legislation specifically ends the coupled entries' rule, but requires racetracks in New York to "take such actions as are necessary to inform the public adequately with regard to the relationship between any such jockey or trainer."