Jockey Victor Espinoza is coming under fire for what some consider an 'excessive' use of the whip on American Pharoah as the pair battled Firing Line through the stretch during the Kentucky Derby.
According to an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal, Kentucky racing officials plan on looking at the stretch run again, and Espinoza's tactics aboard the colt. Chief steward Barbara Borden told the Courier-Journal that “We watched it many, many times prior to making it official, and that wasn't anything that got our attention.”
The three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey admitted that he had to ride American Pharoah “harder than ever” during the stretch drive. Espinoza's tactics have come under scrutiny after Bloomberg.com posted an article not just about American Pharoah's Derby win, but pointing out that the colt had been “whipped 32 times.”
There isn't a limit in Kentucky as to how many times a jockey can hit a horse during a race. Borden told the C-J that Espinoza's ride “didn't stand out to us to be super excessive.”
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