Posted on February 24, 2012 - by Annie Johnson
The Times is pleased the share from the Constitution of the Adams County, Mississippi, Jockey Club (1845) the following selections on rules governing the antebellum turf.
Our racing correspondent discovered this preserved document among the possessions of Natchez turfman William J. Minor, whose papers are currently archived in the Special Collections at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge; both Minor and Colonel Adam L. Bingaman were members of this club [read more about the horses of Minor (Pt. III.) and Bingaman (Parts I.–V.) in the Times’ New Orleans Jockey Club 1837 Spring Meeting series].
The excerpts included here are rules on foul riding and “poling.” While the club’s rules were stringent with respect to foul riding, it’s interesting to see some leniency with regard to “poling”—this during a time in racing that predated the railed track.
If a horse or rider shall cross, jostle or strike another horse or rider, or do any thing that impedes another horse, accidentally or not, it is foul riding, and the horse that impedes the other shall be adjudged distanced. And if the Judges are satisfied that the riding was intentionally foul, or that the rider was instructed so to ride, the parties so offending shall not be allowed to ride, start, enter, or attend a horse over this Course again in any race under control of this Club. Nor shall a horse owned in part or in whole by either of them, or in the running of which they are interested directly or indirectly, be permitted to start in a race under the control of the Club.
Although a leading horse is entitled to any part of the track, if he cross from the right to the left, or from the inner to the outside of the track, when a horse is so near him that in changing his position he compells [sic] the horse behind him to shorten his stride, or causes the rider to pull him out of his stride, it is foul riding; and if, in passing a leading horse, the track is taken so soon after getting the lead as to cause the horse passed to shorten his stride, it is foul riding.
If a horse run on the inside of a pole he shall be distanced, unless he enters the track again at the point at which he left it. If he leaves it in a stretch, and enters the track again before he arrives at a pole or turn, he shall be regarded as though he had not left it.
[The rule of the South Carolina Jockey Club, for instance, with regard to poling is less detailed: “Horses running on the wrong side of a post, and not turning back, are distanced.”—ATT Ed.]
Irving, John. “Rules of the South Carolina Jockey Club, Adopted February 1824, Revised January 1, 1853.” In The South Carolina Jockey Club, 199. Charleston: Russell & Jones, 1857.
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