Many of you might know the story about the eating habits of Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay, who used to control his weight by having a single peanut for lunch. Needless to say, weight is an issue for jockeys, since even an extra ounce can be the difference between winning or losing by a nose. Which is why cheating the scales is generally considered a big no-no, and why BLOODHORSE says seven jockeys were recently suspended from riding in West Virginia.
(Shaq is probably not making weight.)
However, two of the jockeys were allowed to ride in races after a court issued a temporary restraining order allowing jockeys Anthony Mawing and Larry Reynolds to ride. The judge in the case said that it would cause “irrepairable harm” if they were not allowed to race, partially because of the damage it would do to their careers but also because the judge had a hot tip on an exacta in the seventh race and really needed them to ride.
The jockeys in question allegedly weighed in more than two pounds over the limit for jockeys at the Charles Town track, but Clerk of Scales Michael Garrison (talk about an overinflated title) decided to look the other way and let it slide. (Garrison was fined $1,000 and suspended indefinitely.) The whole thing was caught on tape, including the jockeys stepping on the scale and coming in over the weight limit, which makes you wonder exactly why the restraining order was issued.
I’m going to throw a suggestion out there: if a good portion of your jockeys are having to resort to all manner of skullduggery to make weight and be able to ride, maybe it’s time to reconsider the weight limits. We live in a supersized nation, yet horse racing still believes that unless jockeys weigh as much as the average paperweight, they shouldn’t be able to ride.
If there were more female jockeys, Oprah would be all over horse racing about promoting eating disorders among their competitors. Enough is enough: let’s relax the weight limits and let jockeys have a Big Mac every once in a while.