Horse Racing Rules
Rules and Regulations Governing Horse Racing in Belize


Published by the

National Horse Racing Committee 

Belize, Central America



Rules and Regulations Governing Horse Racing in Belize


Published by the National Horse Racing Committee

Registered with the National Sports Council



Horse Racing needs to be closely supervised. The main reason for this close supervision is to assure the spectator public and the competing owners of horses that:

(1) The Association or Club conducting a race meeting is operated by responsible management.

(2)  Every owner and trainer seeking to enter a horse in competition is a person of good character and financial responsibility.

(3) Every horse appearing in a race is the animal he/she is represented to be on the program and is carrying the correct weight assigned by the handicapper.

(4) Every race  run will represent a true competitive effort of every participating horse and rider.

(5) No rider, during the running of the race, commits any act that would unfairly tend to make the race anything other than a true competitive test.

(6) Every horse is physically fit to race.

(7) No one responsible for the custody of a competing horse had administered or permitted to be administered any forbidden medication to the competing horse.

(8) Every racing association or club is doing its utmost to provide the spectator public, the horses, and their attendants, the best facilities it can afford.

Rules and Regulations Governing Horse Racing In Belize

(1) Stewards

Stewards shall be appointed by the National Horse Racing Committee and each association or club holding a race meeting and shall serve for a period of one year. At least three Stewards should be present at each race meeting.

(2) Powers of the Stewards

The Stewards shall have the power to:

(a) regulate, control, take cognizance of and adjudicate upon owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms, and all other persons frequenting the stands and other places used for the purpose of race meetings.

(b) regulate and control all race meetings held by the National Horse Racing Committee or any association or club.

(c) deal with, as expeditiously as possible, any protest, complaint, or objection lodged with them.

(d) appoint officials ( who are responsible only to the stewards) on all areas of the racecourse as deemed necessary.

(3) Handicapper

(a) the Stewards shall appoint a Handicap Committee whose duty shall be to allot a handicap rating to each horse making sure each handicap reflects the committee’s assessment of the ability of each horse.

(b) every member of the Handicap Committee shall attend every meeting of the Committee.

(c) every appeal against the handicap allotment made by the Handicap Committee must be made in writing setting out reasons for the appeal to the Chairman of the National Horse Racing Committee or Association or Club along with a fee o Ten Dollars ($10.00). In the event of the appeal being disallowed, the fee shall be forfeited.

(4) Clerk of Course

The Clerk of Course shall be appointed by the Stewards and shall be responsible for:

(a) the keeping of a record of ll names of the horses which started in each race; the names of the owners, trainers, jockeys; the weights carried (if overweight how much), and the colours worn.

(b)the keeping of  record of the placings of all horse  placed by the Judges with an approximate distance between first, second, and third place; and the official time in which the race was won.

(c) the keeping of a  record of any objections and complaints preferred and the decision of the Stewards thereon.

(d) the keeping of a record of all licensed trainers and jockeys.

(e) the collection of all fees (entrance, jockeys, trainers, appeals, etc.)

5. Clerk of Scales

The Clerk of Scales shall be appointed by the Steward and shall be responsible for WEIGHING IN and WEIGHING OUT of all jockey as set out in the Rules.

6. Judges
The Judge or Judges shall be appointed by the Stewards.
The Judge or Judges shall occupy the Judges’ box at the time the horses pass the running post. The horse that reaches the near end of the running post first shall be declared the winner and the other placings will be determined in a similar manner. The decision of the Judge or Judges is final unless an objection to the winner or any other placing is made and the objection is sustained. The “official” result of the race should not be announced until the weighing out is completed.

7. Timekeeper
An official Timekeeper shall be appointed by the Stewards. The Timekeeper shall keep a record of the winning time of every race run and shall at the end of each race meeting send a report (in writing) of the times to the Clerk of Course.

8. Entries

(a) The Entry Fee for all races shall be 10% of the gross purse
(b) Entries shall be made no later than two weeks before the race meeting. Fifty percent (50%) of the entry fee shall be payable at that time. The remainder of the fee may be paid on the day of the race meeting
(c) Post entries will only be accepted on payment of an additional fee of Ten Dollars ($10.00).
(d) All entries should be made to the Clerk or Course and should include: (1) the name of the horse, (2) the name and approximate weight of the jockey if available, (3) the colours to be worn by the jockey, (4) 50% of the entry fee, and (5) the name of the owner and trainer
(e) If for any reason, other than unsoundness, a horse which has been entered for a race is withdrawn; the entry fee shall be forfeited and the owner or trainer shall be subject to a fine of not more than Twenty Five ($25.00)
(f) The owner or trainer shall not enter or start a horse that is not in serviceably sound condition.

9.  Jockeys, Trainers and Grooms


(a) All jockeys shall be registered with the National Horse Racing Committee and shall pay a fee of Five Dollars ($5.00) per meeting to the Clerk of Course

(b) All jockeys competing in races shall wear a safety helmet and shall be properly attired; i.e. jockey pants, colour silks, jockey boots

(c) If a jockey has agreed to ride for a specific owner or trainer and refuses to do so at the prescribed time, he/she shall be disqualified for the remainder of the race meeting and fined not more than Twenty Five ($25.00)

(d) Unless otherwise agreed the fee payable to a jockey is 10% of the money earned by a horse in any race. The minimum fee for a jockey shall be Ten Dollars ($10.00)

(e) Jockeys seen with, or under the influence of alcoholic beverages, or drugs or using indecent language during a race meet will be fined Twenty Five Dollars ($25.00) for each offense and suspended for repeated offenses.


(f) Every Trainer of a horse running under these Rules shall be registered with the National Horse Racing Committee and shall pay a fee of Fifteen Dollars ($15.00) per meeting. Fees shall be paid to the Clerk of Course

(g) Ant Trainer (and by extension grooms or handlers under him/her) guilty of conduct unbecoming to the sport may be refused registration or fines not more than Fifty Dollars ($50.00) by the Stewards

(h) Every Trainer using stables provided by the National Horse Racing Committee, other association, or club shall be responsible for the cleanliness and general appearance of the stable area in which the horses are kept. If the Stewards are dissatisfied with the conditions prevailing they may instruct the trainer to remove the horses from the area.

(i) Every trainer is responsible to see that the horses under his/her care are in no way tampered with so as to interfere with their racing ability.

(j) Every trainer shall provide equipment in satisfactory condition to ensure that grooms, exercise riders, jockeys, etc. in his/her employ enjoy maximum safety precautions.

10. Paddock

(a) All horses taking part in a race meeting shall be in the stall area not less than one hour before the time set for the start of the race meeting.

(b) All horses contesting a particular race shall leave the stall area and enter the paddock area for saddling not less than fifteen minutes before the race is scheduled to start. Failure to do so may results in the horse being disqualified, the entrance fee forfeited, and the trainer fined not more than fifty dollars ($50.00).

11. Starter and Starting

The Starter shall  be appointed by the Stewards.
(a) Before that start of each race the Starter shall obtain from the Clerk of Scales,  a list of the race participants showing their post positions.
(b) On leaving the saddling paddock, every horse must be ridden by its jockey in front of the grandstand. No more than two persons may accompany each horse. In the case of a truly unruly horse, permission may be granted by the Stewards for it to be lead if such permission is requested in writing and accompanied by a fee of Ten Dollars ($10.00).
(c) All races shall be started from the starting gate unless otherwise designated by the Stewards. If a horse refuses to enter the starting gate, the Starter has the right either to withdraw it from the race, or to place it behind and to one side of the starting gate.
(d) The Starter shall call over the names of all the starters and assign their positions. The horse drawing number one (1) must always be placed on the extreme inside of the course and the other horses take their place in consecutive numbers from him/her.
(e) The Starter must at all times try to secure a fair start.
(f) The starter must at all times have a white flag which he/she will fly when he/she has taken his place and the horses are under starters orders.
(g) In the case of a flag start, the Starter will carry a white flag and his assistant will carry a red flag. The Starter will stand at the starting point while his assistant will stand twenty five yards beyond. Once the Starter is satisfied that the horses are in a proper position to ensure a fair start, he/she will drop his/her flag to denote the start of the race. Once the Starter has dropped his flag his assistant must also drop his/hers thereby denoting a fair start.
(h) In the case of a flag start, the Starter shall have the right to have an unruly horse held at a safe distance behind the other starters or if necessary refuse to allow it to start.
(i) The Starter may report any jockey or attendant to stewards for any disobedience or misconduct while at the starting point.
(j) In the case of a delay at the starting post, the Starter may allow the jockey to dismount.
(k) The Starter’s decision regarding the validity of the start of a race is final.

12. Weighing In

(a) No person other than those permitted by the Stewards will be allowed to be the weighing in other than the jockey, the trainer, or his representative
(b)Every jockey must be weighed in by the Clerk of Scales for a specific race no less than fifteen minutes before the start of the race
(c) No jockey who has been weighed in shall leave the saddling paddock and may communicate only with another jockey, an official of the race meeting, or the trainer or owner of the horse he may be riding
(d) A jockey’s weight shall include all clothing, saddle and attachments except safety helmet, whip, bridle and number cloth
(e) The Stewards if they see fit, may allow another jockey other than the prescribed rider to be substituted in any race

13. Weighing Out

(a) As in “Weighing In” the jockey must be put on the scale and include in his weight everything except his safety helmet, whip, bridle,and number cloth
(b) Every jockey must ride his horse to the place prescribed for weighing out and and present himself/herself to the Clerk of Scales. If he weighs out a more than two pounds less than he weighed in, his horse will be disqualified
(c) If through accident or illness the jockey is unable to ride his horse to the place of weighing out, he may with the permission of the Stewards walk or be carried or be excused from weighing out
(d) No attendant may touch the horse other than by the bridle until the jockey has dismounted, unsaddled, and weighed out, except by the permission of the Clerk of Scales.
(e) If a jockey does not present himself to be weighed out, or if he dismounts before reaching the saddling paddock, or if it felt by the Stewards that any person has willfully interfered with his equipment, hi horse may be disqualified
(f) The result of the race will not be deemed “official” until after the weighing out is completed

14. Walk Over

In walking over for a race, it i not necessary for a horse to “walk over” the whole course. Once it has been ridden past the Judges’ box, it will be declared the winner

15. Dead Heat

(a) When horses run a “dead heat” , the “dead heat” will NOT be run off
(b) When two horses run  dead heat for first place, all prizes to which the first and second horses would be  entitled, shall be equally divided between them. This principle shall be observed in dividing the prizes whatever the number of dead heaters and whatever the place for which the dead heat is run
(c) When a dead heat for second place is run and an objection to the inner is made and sustained, the horses which ran the dead heat shall be deemed to have run the dead heat for first place. This principle shall be observed in dividing the prizes whatever the number of dead heaters and whatever the place for which the dead heat is run
(d) In the event of the dead heat being run for a divisible prize (money) and also some indivisible prize (cup or trophy), if the owners are unable to decide amicably on the division of the prizes the Stewards shall decide by the “toss of coin” who gets the cup or trophy otherwise

16. Post to Finish

(a) After the horses have been ordered to the starting post and until the race has been run, all persons excepting those authorized by the Stewards shall be excluded from the course
(b) After the start of the race, a horse when one length clear may be taken to any part of the track, but if the horse swerves or is ridden to either side so as to interfere with, intimidate or impede any other horse, it is a foul and such horse may be disqualified if in the opinion of the Stewards, it altered the finish of the race
(c) If a jockey interferes with another horse,  the aggressor may be disqualified unless the impeded horse or his jockey was partly at fault or the interference was caused by the fault of some other horse or jockey
(d) If a jockey willfully strikes another horse or jockey, or rides willfully or carelessly so as to impede another horse which in no way is at fault, and which may cause other horses to be impeded, his horse may be disqualified and every horse in the same race belonging wholly or partially to the same owner or trained by the same trainer may likewise be disqualified
(e) Every horse shall be ridden out unless it has been injured and is obviously suffering from some impediment

17. Claims of Foul

(a) Claims of foul must be made before a  race is declared “official”
(b) A claim of foul can be made by the owner, trainer, or jockey of the horse concerned
(c) A claim of foul shall be made to the Clerk of Scales who will immediately notify the Stewards
(d) A claim of foul must be specific in its nature and must also be specific as to the position of the course on which the alleged foul occurred
(e) Every claim of foul or objection shall be decided by the Stewards
(f) The Stewards may determine the extent of disqualification in the case of the foul and may place the offending horse behind such horses as in their judgement were interfered with, or they may place it last
(g) The Stewards shall investigate promptly and render a decision in every protest and complaint properly made to them
(h) Every protest or complaint shall be accompanied by a fee of Twenty Five ($25.00). In the event of the protest or complaint being disallowed, the fee will be forfeited

18 . Corrupt Practices

(a) No person shall make a bet for the account of any jockey except the owner or trainer of the horse the jockey is riding, and then only on the horse being ridden by the jockey
(b) No person or persons shall administer or conspire with others to administer to any horse, any stimulant, depressant, local anesthetic or analgesic which may affect the performance of the horse in a race
(c) No person shall commit any corrupt or fraudulent act in relation to a race or racing, nor shall any person attempt to enrich himself or associates or gain an advantage through unfair, unlawful’ or dishonest behaviour in connection with the racing horses
(d) No person shall threaten any Racing Official, owner, trainer, jockey or any person for the purpose of influencing the result of a race for any other cause
(e) No person shall give, offer, or promise directly or indirectly, a bribe in any form to any Racing Official, owner, trainer, jockey,or any other person having access to or in charge of a race horse for the purpose of influencing the result of a race or any other cause
(f) No Racing Official, owner, trainer, or jockey having access o a race horse shall accept a bribe in any form

19. Penalty

Not withstanding the imposition of any other penalty prescribed under any law, the Stewards may:
(a) suspend any owner, trainer, jockey, groom, or track official; or
(b) expel from or deny access to any other person or persons, who have been found guilty by the Stewards of a corrupt practice

20. Appeal
Every person who is a party to any matter decided by the Stewards may appeal therefrom to the Chairman of the National Horse Racing Committee stating his grounds of appeal in writing and enclosing therewith a fee of Twenty Five ($25.00) which will be refunded if his appeal is successful


These Rules and Regulations are adopted from the “Horse Racing Rules and Regulations” developed and published by the National Stadium Turf Committee in 1981. The National Horse Racing Committee expresses its gratitude to that illustrious committee who had the foresight to see the need for  publication of such rules and regulations to guide the sport of horse racing through all stages of its development.