A ‘SEXIST’ racing rule deemed unfair to women has finally been changed – meaning married couples can now be split up.
Punters can happily back Hollie Doyle or Tom Marquand to win in races in this country.
But in New York, punters staking on a contest with a married couple both riding had to bet on them as one.
The confusing legislation stated that a married pair had to be ‘coupled’ together for betting purposes.
The outdated rule – dubbed ‘sexist’ by critics – dated back 50 years to a time when, according to Thoroughbred Daily News, ‘women jockeys were unfairly regarded with unfounded suspicion’.
It was also thought a husband and wife racing in the same contest could try to rig the outcome.
Just four words have been changed in the ruling but the implications to betting are thought to be worth millions of dollars.
Rule 4025.10 (f) of the New York State Gaming Commission now says married couples ‘are not required’ to be put in the market as one.
It previously said they ‘shall’ be coupled together for betting purposes.
However, the NYSGC general counsel Edmund Burns wrote on the rule change: “The Commission steward would retain the discretion to require coupling in any circumstances in which such steward concludes coupling is necessary in the public interest.”
The case has been thrust into the limelight by married jockey couple Katie Davis and Trevor McCarthy.
When they were dating, punters could back them individually.
But it was only when they tied the knot that the bizarre rule came into force.
They competed at top US track Aqueduct as a married couple 41 times between January and March last year.
Katie claimed track officials put pressure on trainers not to give her rides because the ‘coupling’ rules shrunk field sizes and made betting in the races unpopular..
Aqueduct denied the allegation.
Now a mum, Katie tweeted after the ruling: “Congratulations to all. A big thank you for everyone’s support for making it happen.”