Updated ARCI Model Rules Include Severe Weather Safety at Race Tracks

  • May 24, 2018

The Association of Racing Commissioners International’s Board of directors has added severe weather safety to its Model Rules of Racing. Other key updates include the protocol for concussions and raising the scale of weights in Quarter Horse racing.

The model rules are a template for racing regulatory entities. They also provide a framework under which the sport has made significant gains toward uniform regulations among jurisdictions.  The ARCI Model Rules Committee recommended these updates which were approved by the board at ARCI’s 84th Conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity. ARCI President, Ed Martin, said “At the heart of all these changes is the well-being and safety of our human and equine athletes.”

Horse Racing and Severe Weather

ARCI-007_020 (M) and 014-025 state that tracks are required to develop an approved hazardous weather and lightning protocol. This includes access to a commercial real-time lightning detection service. This service also must have strike distance/radius notifications to help keep athletes and spectators safe.

These lightning detection tools are necessary to suspend activities when dangerous weather approaches. When lightning is detected within an eight-mile radius of a track, officials will suspend racing or training and alert participants to seek a lightning-safe shelter. The rule also states that racing or training can resume only after a minimum of 30 minutes has passed since the last strike observed within an eight-mile radius.

There are lightning detection tools on the market today that offer all-clear signals when lightning leaves a designated radius. These will be perfect for race tracks implementing a weather safety solution for the first time or replacing outdated lightning prediction systems. Use our guide to help determine what system will work best for your race track.

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Concussion Protocol

The next set of rules, ARCI-007-020 (A)(5)(b) and (A)(10), pertain to the concussion protocol for jockeys. This updated rule requires racing associations to adopt, post, and implement protocol approved by the regulatory authority for the diagnosis and management of concussions. This protocol must include an assessment by an individual trained in concussions. Additionally, a return-to-ride guideline must be established in order to clear a jockey who has been concussed.

Scale of Weights

Finally, ARCI-010-020 (D)(3) states that the scale of weights jockeys carry in Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Paints was increase four pounds in each age class. The minimum weight that jockeys must carry now is 124 pounds for 2-year-olds, 126 for 3-year-olds, and 128 for older horses.

You can download the ARCI Model Rules here. Make sure you race track complies!