History is littered with the cries of athletes, fans, reporters and bettors who feel a sport's officials made a “bad call.” But whether it is real or perceived, inconsistent officiating can be maddening and has the potential to erode customer confidence and impact future participation.
Horse racing is no different.
The virulence of opinions regarding inconsistency in race officiating across the entire North American racing landscape has prompted the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation to pursue the topic.
There is an alternative to the inconsistency, and with it comes far fewer inquiries, far fewer demotions. What racing would get is greater consistency, clarity and a betting sport where the participants – be them jockeys, trainers, owners or bettors – understand what fouls warrant demotions. There is a path forward.
In the newest TIF Report released Thursday, we examine the interference philosophy used in North America, the option that exists to change to a much more consistent standard, the history of rule changes on the continent, the path to adopting a new philosophy and more.
“This issue reaches across so many constituencies,” said TIF Executive Director Patrick Cummings. “Racing stakeholders in North America, and particularly horseplayers, yearn for a more consistent standard in race officiating. The stewards aren't the problem, they are simply interpreting and enforcing an interference philosophy that, by its very nature, yields inconsistent outcomes.
“Our white paper presents a logical alternative to the current philosophy in place across North America. There is a path forward to adopt a new model rule which individual jurisdictions can accept, bringing an improved experience for the countless frustrated stakeholders of our great sport.
“As the research in the paper addresses, the last major adjustment to the rules philosophy in North America took more than 20 years to implement from the early 1930s to mid 1950s. The change our recommendation would yield, reviewing the figures from other jurisdictions to make the move to Category 1, is staggering. This is an improvement to the sport that everyone can get behind.”
The Thoroughbred Idea Foundation aims to improve the thoroughbred racing industry for all stakeholders, especially its primary customers – gamblers and owners – through the exchange, curation and advocacy of sound, data-driven ideas, shared with and implemented by the sport's existing entities.
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