No horse racing enthusiast will deny the huge part jockeys play in the sport, putting life and limb at stake for the pleasure of punters. So it is no wonder that the authorities pay careful heed to whatever the Jockeys Guild has to say about making horse racing safer for all concerned.
A couple of bureaucratic rules are easy to fix: many emergency vehicles owned by track authorities can only apply within racecourses. You have to call for an ambulance and wait to get an injured jockey to hospital, while he bleeds and writhes in pain!
The Association of Racing Commissioners, which is to meet shortly in Albuquerque, New Mexico, can easily fix petty rules that endanger the lives and wellness of brave jockeys and thus make horse racing safer. They deserve the best emergency treatment technology allows. Para medical staff should be at hand during both events and practice hours.
Making horse racing safer is more a matter of organization than money. Simple changes in procedures and basic horse racing safety equipment can save jockeys from permanent disability and even fatal consequences. Such steps are standard in even amateur events, so there is no need for horse racing to deny the measures to professional riders.
We look forward to a better safety record in the horse racing season of 2006, and would not like to hear of a single instance of a rider waiting in a track vehicle while an outside ambulance comes to his rescue!