Drivers will drive without whips at H3R for next two Sunday cards

Trois-Rivieres, QC –- For the last two days of the live harness racing meet at the Hippodrome 3R, the drivers in all the races both this Sunday and next Sunday will drive without whips.

The Quebec Jockey Club, which oversees the racing at H3R, announced last week that they were going to experiment with “whipless” racing the last two days of the race meet.

In North America, whipless racing has taken place at a few tracks including Plainridge Racetrack and the former Indiana Downs years ago. Australia was to go whipless in 2017, but that move has been put on hold while more research is done.

Norway is the only country in Europe that has banned whipping in all harness racing and that began some 40 years ago in the 1970’s.

Whips, crops, willow switches and sticks have been used to guide and train animals since man first domesticated horses, cows, oxen and sheep.

“This is an experiment of pari-mutuel racing without whips,” said Director of Racing Murielle Thomassin. “There will be absolutely no whips allowed on the track these two special days.

“There is no surprise that this year the population is tired of cruelty on animals,” Thomassin continued. “The Quebec Jockey Club is ready to change with the society and evolve in a sport where the horse is our pride and joy. We must respect and protect them at all cost.”

Some of the drivers competing this Sunday at H3R gave their opinions on the upcoming trial of whipless racing.

“I agree with strict rules for the use of the whip,” said Daniel Laflamme. “We need the whip to control the horse in certain circumstances. It’s our only working tool to bring the horse back to order and protect us.”

“I do not feel good about not having a whip,” Jocelyn Gendron explained. “It is our way to be able to stimulate a horse without abusing the whip. To remove it completely may be dangerous.”

“I am happy that the QJC is taking steps to increase the customer base and the vitality of the races,” said Pierre Luc Roy. “I also agree that measures need to be taken to reduce the use of the whip, however, I do not believe that removing the whip is a good idea.”

“It is OK for a test day for two,” Pascal Berube said, “but not for all of next year. It’s not a solution to make racing more appealing.”

“If it will help the racetrack then I am happy to drive without a whip,” Simon Delisle said. “We will see this Sunday how it goes. “The public does not like the whip.”

There are 11 races this Sunday for the first day of whipless racing at H3R.

“We will see how the racing goes these two days without whips,” Thomassin said. “We will study the races themselves and the wagering patterns too and maybe come up with some changes for the 2019 harness racing season in Quebec.”

First race post time Sunday is 12:50 pm. For a free race program, visit

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