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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Guild Clarifies National Agenda

( Monrovia , California ) - Members of the Jockeys' Guild Board of Directors have clarified the organization's test of a new California law in connection with the Guild's previously announced national agenda to improve pay and other benefits for riders in 2007, according to the organization's National Manager, Dwight Manley.

"The Guild will continue its aggressive efforts to persuade the California Horse Racing Board to order payment for Roberto Gonzalez, an innocent jockey who rode a winning horse later disqualified from a race in February 2005. However, that situation is unique to California because of a recently enacted state law there, and is not part of the Guild's national efforts on behalf of jockeys," said Manley.

"The federal and state legislative agenda for this year is aimed at improving the safety and welfare of riders nationwide, and increasing their benefits, such as higher mount fees and better health care coverage."

In a petition to the California Horse Racing Board in January, the Guild emphasized that a state law enacted in 2005 (AB 1180) contains provisions that permit the Racing Board to spare innocent jockeys from economic harm when a horse is disqualified for illegal drugs.

"We strongly support jockey Roberto Gonzalez in this matter, but it is a California-specific issue and not part of the Guild's national agenda," explained Manley.
Thursday, March 22, 2007

Guild and Churchill Downs Settle


Churchill Downs Incorporated
and Jockeys' Guild Settle Legal Claims

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 21, 2007) - Churchill Downs Incorporated and the Jockeys' Guild Inc. today announced that they had settled legal claims filed against each other in U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky, related to jockey boycotts of races at two Churchill Downs-owned racetracks - Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind. - in November 2004. The settlement is subject to the approval of Chief Judge John G. Heyburn.

"Churchill Downs and its racetracks remain committed to the health, welfare and safety of the jockeys who compete at our facilities, and we have made progress on issues important to our Company and to the Jockeys' Guild since the Guild's new management team was installed," said Steve Sexton, who serves as an executive vice president for Churchill Downs Incorporated as well as president of the Company's flagship facility, Churchill Downs racetrack. "We are pleased to settle our legal differences and put these matters behind us, and we look forward to working with the Jockeys' Guild and its members as we prepare for our 2007 racing seasons."

"We are very excited about the resolution of this issue with Churchill Downs and look forward to moving ahead with what we believe will be a very progressive relationship between the Jockeys' Guild and one of the nation's largest racing companies that owns and operates the world's most prestigious sporting event, the Kentucky Derby," said Dwight Manley, national manager of the Guild which represents 1,300 riders. "We look forward to working with Churchill Downs and its racetracks in ways that will benefit the tracks, the riders and the entire racing industry."

As part of the settlement, the Jockeys' Guild has entered into a federal Joint Stipulation and Consent Order with Churchill Downs through which its members and representatives have agreed to not directly or indirectly:
  • engage in efforts to affect the level of consideration for jockey services for races at Churchill Downs-owned racetracks, including the level of insurance for jockeys;
  • refuse to provide jockey services at Churchill Downs-owned racetracks; and
  • interfere with the Company's operations.
In exchange, Churchill Downs-owned racetracks will resume making contributions to the Jockeys' Guild in the form of "per starter" and "per race day" fees that help support the Guild's programming and operations. Additional terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Churchill Downs Incorporated ("Churchill Downs"), headquartered in Louisville, Ky., owns and operates world-renowned horse racing venues throughout the United States. Churchill Downs' five racetracks in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisiana host many of North America's most prestigious races, including the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, Arlington Million, Princess Rooney Handicap, Louisiana Derby and Indiana Derby. Churchill Downs' racetracks have hosted seven Breeders' Cup World Championships. Churchill Downs also owns off-track betting facilities and has interests in various advance deposit wagering, television production, telecommunications and racing services companies that support Churchill Downs' network of simulcasting and racing operations. Churchill Downs trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol CHDN and can be found on the Internet at

For more information, contact:

Julie Koenig Loignon
Churchill Downs Incorporated
(502) 636-4502

Donn Pearlman
Jockeys' Guild
(702) 868-5777

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ohio to require safety reins

by Frank Angst

Orginally published by Thoroughbred Times

Ohio horsemen will be required to supply their exercise riders and jockeys with safety reins beginning in 2008.

On March 16, the Ohio State Racing Commission enacted rules that will require horses on racetrack grounds be equipped with safety reins.

A safety rein includes a wire or nylon cord stitched into the traditional leather or nylon rein during the manufacturing process. The safety cord is then attached to the bit with a metal clasp.
The safety reins typically cost about $15 more than typical reins. The commission said in order to save horsemen the expense of replacing all of their current reins at the same time, the safety reins will not be required until July 1, 2008.

The Jockeys' Guild has strongly supported the use of safety reins.

The Ohio laws also will require the use of safety reins with Standardbreds.
Friday, March 16, 2007

Aaron Gryder: 3,000 Wins

Orginally published by Bloodhorse

Jockey Aaron Gryder recorded the 3,000th victory of his career when he guided Pressthepace to a gate-to-wire victory in the nightcap at Santa Anita Park Wednesday.

The victory in the $25,000 maiden claiming event for older horses snapped a 23-race losing streak since Gryder drew to within one win of the milestone achievement.

"It feels great," said the 36-year-old Gryder. "It gives me a chance to reflect back on all of the great races I have been fortunate enough to win." A native of West Covina, Calif., Gryder returned to competition in Southern California late last season after 12 years in the East. He was joined in the winner's circle by fellow jockeys Jon Court and Richard Migliore and his grandmother, among others.

"It's fun to do it here in front of the mountains where I grew up," Gryder said. He said he knew from the time he was 3 or 4 that he wanted to be a jockey. "It was the the only job for me," he said.

Gryder rode his first winner, Ragin Henry, at Caliente in Mexico on Jan. 18, 1987. Two years later, he became the only apprentice jockey to lead a Hollywood Park meeting when victorious in 31 races at the track's fall meet. He won a career-best 211 races in 1991, but his most productive year was 1998 when his mounts earned more than $8.8 million including five graded stakes. Gryder has won 27 races at the current Santa Anita meet to rank fourth, 39 victories behind leader Gomez.

Grade I triumphs include the 1987 Matriarch on Asteroid Field at Hollywood Park -- his first graded stakes win -- and the '88 Beverly Hills Handicap with Fitzwilliam Place, also at Hollywood, and in 1992, both the Hopeful aboard Great Navigator at Saratoga and the Super Derby with Senor Tomas. Gryder has nine riding titles to his credit, the last coming at Aqueduct during the 2001 inner track stand.

The milestone win came in a 5 1/2-furlong event. Pressthepace sped to the lead and won clear by 2 3/4 lengths under left-handed urging for trainer Anthony Saavedra. The winner paid $19.60.

The Jockeys' Guild wish to congratulate Aaron on this achievement!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Manley/Jackson to Ghana

Dwight Manley Accompanies Rev. Jesse Jackson to Ghana

Jockeys' Guild National Manager, Dwight Manley, accompanied Guild consultant and civil rights leader, Rev. Jesse Jackson, on a nearly week-long goodwill mission to Ghana to mark that country's 50th anniversary of independence on March 6.

They traveled with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Representative Bobby Rush (D-Illinois), the Chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. The Subcommittee has jurisdiction involving the Federal Trade Commission, including sports-related matters.

"I was honored to be included in this overseas mission to Ghana. We celebrated the achievements and freedom of the past half century and looked to the next 50 years of the country's growth," said Manley.

Rev. Jackson, Manley and others in the group participated in golden jubilee celebrations in Ghana's capital, Accra, and met with President John A. Kufour and many of the leaders from 50 nations who also attended the independence anniversary events.

Ghana was formerly called The Gold Coast. It became the first country in Africa south of the Sahara to gain independence from colonial rule on March 6, 1957. The theme of the 50th anniversary year is "Championing African Excellence."


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