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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SUMOKIN’S WIN BENEFITS THE PDJF

  Because of the Knoxs’ generosity, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) received 50% of the owner’s share of the winning purse, $68,500.

 

           “I think it is a very commendable gesture by Cindy and Luke Knox to help disabled riders with a portion of their winnings,” said G.R. Carter, a member of the board of the PDJF.  “The PDJF helps these former jockeys that permanently sacrificed their health so we can race horses.  I thank Cindy and Luke for their generous gift.”

 

           “Luke (Dr. Luke Knox, husband) and I think that everyone in racing should feel indebted to and acknowledge the ultimate risk that all jockeys take,” said Cindy Knox. "I applaud their bravery. Without them, the sport of horse racing could not exist.”

          Nancy LaSala, president of the board of the PDJF said, “The PDJF’s mission is to provide monthly assistance to former jockeys who have had their lives dramatically altered by accidents on the track. Through the generous support of Dr. and Mrs. Knox, their contribution subsidizes one month of assistance to the community of jockeys we currently serve." 

           

          Information on the PDJF is available at www.pdjf.org   The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, is a 501(c)3 public charity.

 

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Contact: Nancy LaSala, (630) 595-7660

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

French jockey dies from injuries

From Thoroughbred Times TODAY
Boutin was involved in a four-horse incident at the Normandy track and had been in a coma on a lifesupport machine since being transferred from a hospital in Argentan to an intensive care facility at Alencon, where he passed away yesterday morning.
 
Boutin was riding Pascal Bary trainee Game of Legs (Fr) (Hernando {Fr}) when the accident occurred during the second division of the apprentices maiden. Before joining Bary, he had been attached to the stables of Joel Remy, Didier Prod'homme and namesake Cedric Boutin, and had ridden eight winners this year. Riders at yesterday's Lyon Parilly meet wore black armbands in honor of their colleague.

Benjamin was well-liked, he always wanted to improve and he never did anything that made him disliked by anyone, said trainer Cedric Boutin. He was well-educated with simple values. Jockey Ronan Thomas added,  Nobody in our profession can fail to be affected by Benjamin Boutin's death at just 21 years of age. What has happened will spur us on to develop better safety measures and better emergency services. It is the only light to come out of this situation."

Monday, November 28, 2011

COURT BECOMES 17TH RIDER TO REACH 400-WIN MILESTONE AT CD

From Churchill Downs Communications Department
        “It’s nice to get the 400th win at Churchill Downs,” Court said. “I’ve always loved riding here. It’s been a great meet and I hope I can keep it going. I knew Churchill had that (400-win) sign. I was just hoping they wouldn’t have to use it next spring. At 51-years-old I think I can still ride with the youngest and the best and I’m very thankful to be healthy and have the opportunity to do what I do.”

Court, who has over 3,600 wins in his riding career, has won 14 stakes beneath the Twin Spires, including the 2011 Firecracker Handicap (Grade II) aboard Wise Dan, who captured the 137th running of the Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) on Friday. Other notable winners at Churchill Downs include With Anticipation in the 2001 Louisville Handicap, Belterra in the 2001 Golden Rod (GII) and Softly in the 2002 Churchill Downs Distaff Handicap (GII).

His number of Churchill Downs victories would have certainly been higher had Court not left the Kentucky-circuit in 2004 to ride in Southern California for trainer Doug O’Neill. He returned to his Midwest-roots in 2009.

“A few of the trainers gave me a hard time, saying if I hadn’t gone to California to ride I could have doubled that and beyond, but that’s fine,” Court said. “It’s all in the name of racing and that’s good.”

        Court began his riding career in 1980 and recorded his first victory aboard Nevada’s Hope at the now defunct Centennial Park in Colorado. He has won riding titles at Oaklawn, Ellis Park, Hoosier Park, Turfway and Birmingham and has recorded six top-five finishes at Churchill Downs, including a trio of thirds: 1999 Fall Meet, 2001 Fall Meet and 2002 Spring Meet.

        The victory aboard Red Jack was Court’s second victory of the day and 13th of the Fall Meet. He is poised for another top-five finish in the jockey standings as he is currently in fourth behind Julien Leparoux, Corey Lanerie and Calvin Borel.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cornelio Velasquez Records 3,000th Victory

By Blood-Horse Staff
“I feel good,” said Velasquez, who also won more than 1,000 races in his native Panama before moving his tack to the United States. “I’m very happy to have had a big career and that the trainers have given me a lot of chances. It’s like family here at Aqueduct; there’s a lot of competition, but I like New York. It’s the best.”

Velasquez drove Up in Smoke ($7.30) to a 5 1/2-length win in a $12,500 maiden claiming event at 6 1/2 furlongs for trainer Dominic Galluscio and owner Mark J. Lewis. The 3-year-old Smoke Glacken   gelding was timed in 1:18.82 on a fast track.

Following the landmark win, Velasquez, 43, was tied for seventh in the jockey standings at Aqueduct’s fall meet with eight winners. Overall, he was third in New York with 169 winners in 2011.

Victories this year in New York include the Go for Wand (gr. II) with Lovely Lil Nov. 25 at Aqueduct, the Vosburgh Invitational (gr. I) aboard Giant Ryan and the Westchester (gr. III) on Caixa Eletronica, both at Belmont Park, and the Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) with Winchester and the Victory Ride (gr. III) aboard Hot Summer, both at Saratoga Race Course.

Other top winning rides during his career have been aboard Flashpoint, Rightly So, Alcomo, Wasted Tears, Awesome Maria, Miss World, Tale of Ekati  , Kip Deville, War Pass  , Nobiz Like Shobiz, After Market  , Take D' Tour, Gun Salute, and Riskaverse.

Earlier this month, Velasquez won the Breeders’ Cup Marathon (gr. II) at Churchill Downs with Afleet Again.

Velasquez, who rode his first winner in Panama in 1985, has finished among the top 10 jockeys on the NYRA circuit every year since 2004. In 2007, he won the coveted Saratoga riding title with 44 winners.




Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SANTA ANITA GEORGE WOOLF FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

From Santa Anita Communications Department           
Ramon Dominguez, Corey Lanerie, Martin Pedroza, DeShawn Parker and Scott Stevens are the 2012 Woolf finalists, with a winner to be determined by a vote of jockeys nationwide.

            The Woolf Award has been presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950 and is regarded as one of the most prestigious honors in all of racing, as it recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing.  The winner’s trophy is a replica of the life-sized statue of George Woolf, which adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.

            The statue was created through donations from the racing public after Woolf’s death which followed a spill at Santa Anita on Jan. 13, 1946.  Woolf, who was regarded as one of the top big-money jockeys of his era, was affectionately known as “The Iceman,” and was revered by his colleagues, members of the media and fans across America as a fierce competitor and consummate professional who was at his best when the stakes were highest.

            The 2012 Woolf Award ballot features five veteran riders who have jointly accounted for more than 19,000 wins.

            As North America’s Eclipse Award winning jockey in 2010, Ramon Dominguez led all riders with $18,591,756 in purse earnings.  Born Nov. 24, 1976 in Caracas, Venezuela, Dominguez began riding at Hialeah Park in Florida in 1996.

            Dominguez also led all North American jockeys by races won in 2001 and 2003, and in 2004 he won the Isaac Murphy Award for having the highest win percentage among American-based riders.

            Dominguez, who has won 13 NYRA riding titles dating back to 2007-08, won his second Breeders’ Cup race on Nov. 5, as he guided Hansen to an impressive victory in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. 

            Corey Lanerie, a Louisiana native who has become a fixture at Churchill Downs and at Fairgrounds in New Orleans, won his 3,000th career race on Feb. 3 and is held in the highest regard by jockeys and horsemen wherever he has ridden regularly.

            Lanerie has won riding titles at three tracks in Texas, Lone Star Park, Sam Houston and Retama Park, and has also been leading rider at Ellis Park in Kentucky.

            Regarded as one of the fiercest competitors of his era, Martin Pedroza has been a frequent member of the coveted Top Ten at all of Southern California’s major tracks since 1983.

            A 46-year-old native of Panama City, Panama, Pedroza has enjoyed good success and won more than 3,000 career races, despite competing on a daily basis with some of the sports all-time greatest reinsmen.

            The all-time leading rider at Fairplex Park in Pomona, Pedroza has won an unprecedented 14 riding titles 682 victories over that track’s five-eighths mile bullring.

            At five feet 10 inches, DeShawn Parker doesn’t look like a jockey to most people.  His physical appearance however, belies a well-grounded work ethic and an ability to keep horses running—and running.

            Parker, a 42-year-old Cincinnati native who bases out of West Virginia’s Mountaineer Park, led all North American riders with 377 wins in 2010 and is on pace take his second consecutive national riding crown in 2011.

            America’s first champion African American jockey since 1895, Parker is the son of longtime Ohio racing official Daryle Parker.

            Best known as the older brother of Hall of Fame retired jockey Gary Stevens, Scott Stevens, 50, has quietly gone about having an outstanding career in his own right, evidenced by the fact he registered his 4,000th career win on March 18 of this year at Turf Paradise, in Phoenix, Az.

            An Idaho native, Stevens began his career in 1976 at Le Bois Park in Boise and has ridden regularly at Canterbury Park in Minnesota, Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Canada, Emerald Downs, near Seattle, Washington and briefly, in Southern and Northern California. 

            In recognition of his ability on the track and overall professionalism, Stevens has been inducted into the Canterbury Park and Idaho Racing Halls of Fame.

            Stevens has overcome several life-threatening injuries and has long been active in support of his fellow riders.  He was sidelined for several months following a catastrophic spill at Canterbury in July, 2010, which left him hospitalized with two punctured lungs, multiple rib fractures, fractured vertebrae and a broken collarbone.

            Stevens is the father of two grown children, Jessica and Jake, and has one grandchild.

            For more information on the Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, go to www.santaanita.com

 

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Letter from Jockeys' Guild to the governor and Illinois legislators

When you and your colleagues in the Illinois legislature continue to debate the issue of whether slot machines should be placed at racetracks, I ask that in the end that the bill will obtain the major goal of helpingto save horse racing in Illinois.

 

I was born and raised in Chicago, and I understand the importance and impact of horse racing in Illinois.  I also know that you are being lobbied by large corporations who are looking out for their best interests and, there is no doubt the debate will be intense.  However, throughout this process please keep in mind the best interests of the industry as a whole, including all of the owners, breeders, horsemen and their employees, and the jockeys (active and disabled), as well as the agricultural businesses in Illinois that provide goods and services to the industry.  All of these components create thousands of jobs within Illinois.  The legislation should ensure the long-term success of the horse racing business in Illinois and provide stability for the thousands of Illinois residents who depend on the industry for their livelihood.

 

All of these people work as partners to entertain the tens of thousands of horse racing fans who come to Arlington Park, Hawthorne Race Course and Fairmount Park. The viability of the industry is essential to the fans’ continued enjoyment and active participation in the sport.

 

Racing interests have said slots are essential at tracks.  We, at the Jockeys’ Guild, don’t necessarily dispute that fact.  But there is another issue that I would like for you to consider – an unresolved issue between the Jockey’s Guild and Churchill Downs, Inc. (“CDI”), owner of Arlington Park, and one of the corporations lobbying for slots.  CDI is unwilling to recommit to a long-standing agreement that provides temporary disability, life insurance, AD&D and other benefits for active members, as well as assistance that is provided to disabled riders.  As such, we would respectfully ask that the legislation include a requirement of a percentage to be withheld in order to provide for the health and welfare of the jockeys who regularly ride in Illinois, such as in the states of California, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Massachusetts. 

 

Sadly, we have seen too many recent instances where the racing industry has taken the back seat to other business concerns, and that is affecting the industry’s ability to survive and prosper.  While you are considering what is best for the state of Illinois, please ensure that any legislation aimed at improving conditions for the horse industry, takes into account all interests involved, including those owners, breeders, horsemen and their families, jockeys (active and disabled), agriculture businesses, etc.   

 

The state of Illinois, by allowing for slots, is being given an opportunity that would allow for purses to be significantly increased, which would in turn strengthen the horse industry.  There would also be the additional revenue to be used however is deemed most appropriate to benefit the state of Illinois.  We only ask that the health and well-being of jockeys remain a part of these discussions.

 

We appreciate your consideration and look forward to a reasonable solution for this pressing issue.  We stand ready to assist in any way.  Should you need to reach me, please contact me at 859-523-5625 or by email: tmeyocks@jockeysguild.com.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Terence J. Meyocks

Jockeys’ Guild, Inc.

National Manager            

Friday, November 18, 2011

Caton Bredar: Penny Wise Pounds Morally Reprehensible

Each is circular, ringed by a maroon horseshoe, with the words “Jockey Community Fund”. In the center is a horse’s profile, at the bottom, one word, Guild. If I had to guess—and I do—I’d put them as having been obtained around the mid 1940’s, but that’s only a guess. History has a way of writing and rewriting itself, especially when it’s your own.

While I’ve never been a jockey, it’s pretty well chronicled I am fortuitously related to one and now, in a sense depend on jockeys for my own livelihood. I grew up believing my grandfather, Ted Atkinson, was one of the founding members of the Jockeys Guild back in 1940, but I’m not certain of that now. His contemporary, Eddie Arcarao definitely was a founder, and given the number of events the two were linked together on—everything from memorable riding battles to stints on the Ed Sullivan Show—I assume they were together on this, too.

What I am certain of, is that my grandfather was a dues paying member of the Jockey’s Guild from the 1940’s through most of the rest of his life, until the time he died earlier this decade Having seen notebooks with handwritten figures, check denotations and subtraction equations, I’m assuming he served at one time as treasurer. I also know he contributed financially long after his riding days were over, believing strongly in the need for all entities in racing to support one another, in perpetuity.

In his book “All the Way”, published in 1961, he wrote about the Guild: “it is not compulsory for jockeys to join the Guild, but 99 percent belong…however, whether members or not, all jockeys are insured by the tracks through the Guild while riding. Ordinary life insurance is practically prohibitive for jockeys.” He goes on to write about how, before the Guild’s existence, and with it, the Community Fund “the hat was being passed constantly for one injured rider after another. Not a pay day went by but some hurt jockey needed help.”

Once again, I don’t know what my grandfather would have to say about Churchill Down’s resistance now to end a long standing commitment and discontinue their contractual and financial support of the Guild—a sum reported to be around $330,000 divided amongst several corporate entities including three racetracks. I have a pretty good idea what he’d expect his microphone toting, former exercise riding granddaughter to say, though. This is not only a bad business decision, it’s a wrong decision.

Insurance that was “practically prohibitive” in 1961 is nearly unobtainable now and no matter how many hats gets passed, there is simply no way for the average rider or his or her family to cover medical costs. Then, as now, not a day goes by but some hurt jockey needs help.

The $1 million catastrophic policy most racetracks—including Churchill Downs—carry doesn’t scratch the surface for a catastrophic injury. Jackie Martin, a quarter horse legend I interviewed many times, has only been in the hospital for months and already, that million is pretty much gone. The face of quarter horse racing lies paralyzed in a hospital bed while his wonderful wife and family are forced already to pass the hat, to depend on the generosity of friends and in many cases, strangers. This will happen for the rest of Jacky’s life.

While countless friends and fans step up to the plate to support Martin and his family, others like Frank Stronach, and the New York Racing Association to name just a have followed suit by continuing their financial contributions and support of the Jockeys Guild. Yet, the home of the Kentucky Derby, for the past two years the home of the Breeders’ Cup…the symbolic face of horse racing in this country so far does not. Even the California Horse Racing Board is threatening action against Churchill’s online wagering entity TwinSpires for the company’s refusal to contribute to the Guild. Churchill Downs is somewhat isolated in their position.

The statue of Pat Day in the paddock at Churchill seems eerily ironic at the moment. In many ways, the track that most relies on jockeys—their images, their personalities, their faces and willingness to participate in everything from Derby Day interviews to hospital visits to Dawns After Dark promotions held way past their normal bed times—this is the entity that, in a business decision—refuses to come up with $330,000.

Right now, the entire professional basketball season is in jeopardy—perhaps for all intents and purposes over—as owners debate how much of a percentage of revenue—over or under 50% of millions and millions--should be shared with players who are already able to make millions on their own through appearances and endorsements. Meanwhile, the most famous racetrack in the world won’t come up with a few hundred thousand dollars toward insurance for their athletes who are legally limited as to what they can even do endorsement-wise.

If any multi-million dollar corporation can’t afford $330k—even as a token of support to some of its principle players-- that corporation shouldn’t be in business. If I were an outsider looking in at this discussion, I would question the value or importance of the sport in the first place. What kind of a sport doesn’t take care of its athletes—equine as well as human? What kind of a sport is haggling publicly with its athletes over $330,000? It may be a business decision, but in the long run, Churchill may find their current decision as being counter-productive to good business—another black eye on a sport already often staggering toward the mat.

According to the pocket Webster’s Dictionary that sits on my desk, the word guild is a noun meaning society for mutual help, or with common object. At one point in the history of the Jockey’s Guild, that mutual help and common object were pretty clear. Now not so much.
Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ramon Dominguez Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

Dominguez, 34, originally from Caracas, Venezuela, is off to a fast start at the Aqueduct meeting, where he has opened big leads in both victories with 15 and earnings at $465,015 through Tuesday.

In fact, Dominguez leads all North American-based riders in earnings this year at $18,591,756 and he ranks second in victories with 306, trailing only Deshawn Parker who has 349.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jockey John Davila, Jr. Wins 3,000th Race

From Thoroughbred Times TODAY
A native of Puerto Rico, Davila has earned all but 47 of his victories at Finger Lakes. His marquee win came in the 1995 Finger Lakes Budweiser Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G3) aboard Not Surprising  (Medieval Man).

Davila is on pace to capture the Finger Lakes riding title for a record 12th time when the meet concludes December 5. “It’s a lot of wins and I feel blessed,” Davila said. “I never believed I’d win so many.”

 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mike Smith Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

Smith rode Salty Strike to victory in the Dream Supreme Stakes on Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup undercard before piloting Amazombie to victory in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and Drosselmeyer to a half-length victory in the $4,545,000 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

For the period, Smith won three of his nine starts with earnings of $3,759,717, which was $1,236,017 more than his next closest competitor on the weekly list.

Smith has enjoyed plenty of big days at the Breeders’ Cup. On Saturday, he tied Jerry Bailey for the all-time lead with his 15th career victory at the event and won two Breeders’ Cup races in the same year for the sixth time in his career.

Smith won the Classic with Skip Away and the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) with Ajina in 1997. His other two-win Breeders’ Cup days were with Cherokee Run in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and Tikkanen in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) in 1994; with Inside Information in the Distaff and Unbridled’s Song in the Breeders Cup Juvenile (G1) in 1995; with Azeri in the Distaff and Vindication in the Juvenile in 2002; and with Zenyatta in the Ladies’ Classic and Stardom Bound in the Juvenile Fillies (G1) in 2008.

Smith, 46, has ridden professionally since 1982 but probably is best known for the work he did the three previous seasons aboard 2010 Horse of the Year and three-time champion Zenyatta.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

LANERIE WINS 300TH AT CHURCHILL DOWNS

From Churchill Downs Communications Department  
      Lanerie is just the 20th rider in Churchill Downs history to reach the 300-win plateau.

        “It feels good, but I honestly didn’t know I had that many,” Lanerie said. “I’ve had a lot of good mounts and it makes it easy.”

        The native of Lafayette, La., who will turn 37 Sunday, rode his first winner at Churchill Downs during the Fall Meet in 2000 and his list of victories at the Louisville track since then includes eight stakes wins.

        “The stakes races I’ve won here stand out as highlights, but all of them are important to me,” Lanerie said.

        The next goal for Lanerie is to capture a riding title at the home of the Kentucky Derby. He has finished second in the jockey standings in the past two Spring Meets to Calvin Borel in 2010 and Julien Leparoux in 2011.

        “It’d be great (to win a riding title),” Lanerie said. “It’s a tough chore, but I’m definitely up to the task.”

        Lanerie, who recorded his 3,000th career victory in February at Fair Grounds, is off to a red-hot start at the 2011 Fall Meet with eights wins from 28 mounts. He is currently second in the jockey standings behind Leparoux, who has 10 wins from 52 mounts.  

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Breeders' Cup Day One: Jockey Month

By Todd Simmons
As the cold wind blew in across the Ohio river, he pressed his hands into a square of wet concrete in honor of his win in last year's Kentucky Derby. There was a group of jockeys standing there with him, laughing, calling out "Push harder, Johnny" and "See you later", as if the concrete would keep him there. It was a nice ceremony where there was joking, laughing. There had been a press conference just minutes before about something very serious, an issue effecting all their lives.

This year, Churchill Downs has decided not to renew their commitment to the Jockey's Guild, an organization that provides life insurance to these jockeys, that provides support in the event of short term disability. Five jockeys sat at the tables flanking the poduim, men whose lives had been dramatically changed by an injury on the track, men who would never ride again. In front of the table sat jockeys past and present, there in support of the Guild. These men and women who daily risk their lives because their passion for the sport drives them to do it, who go all out on the track in the afternoon have bound together, 250 of them, to sign a petition calling for Churchill Downs Inc. to reach back out to them.

Gary Birzer, paralyzed in a riding accident in 2004, spoke of the need his family, his children have that the Jockey's Guild helps with. Without it? "I don't know where I'd be. They're doing the best for us."

Randy Meier, whose son is also a jockey, suffered severe injuries and a cervical fracture in a fall in 2009, spoke: "All these guys are my brothers. If the Guild isn't here to support us, we'll go backward in time."

It is a dangerous game where injury always near. 18% of the Guild's members were temporarily disabled last year alone. The jockeys are not asking for handouts. They themselves commit to the Guild by giving four dollars from each mount to the fund, but they need the support of the tracks where they race. Terry Meyocks, manager of the Jockey's Guild, said that there is a silver lining in the dark clouds.

"It is asking us to re-educate the industry. It could be a good thing for the Guild." They are going at this in a 'first class way', not with threats of jockey action, but through awareness. This is jockey month, and he asks people to show support by wearing the jockey boot of the Guild, colored green, on a lapel today, a green shirt or tie this month at the track.


This afternoon, these jockeys that sat in the seats that faced the table and podium will be out on the track trying to beat one another to the finish line. This morning, they were gathered there together in support of having Churchill Downs Incorporated come back to the table, to recommit to their safety, to their lives.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Velazquez wins Shoemaker Award as event's top jockey

This is the second time that Velazquez, 39, has won the Shoemaker Award, having previously won it at Lone Star Park in 2004.

Velazquez rode two winners on the Friday card – Stephanie’s Kitten in the Juvenile Fillies Turf and Perfect Shirl in the Filly and Mare Turf. On Saturday, he had seconds with Force Freeze in the Sprint and Birdrun in the Marathon, along with a third-place finish on Brilliant Speed in the Turf.

Velazquez was one of three jockeys to win as many as two of the 15 BC races. Mike Smith won the Sprint on Amazombie and the Classic on Drosselmeyer, while Corey Nakatani won the Juvenile Fillies with My Miss Aurelia and the Turf Sprint with Regally Ready.

The first Shoemaker Award was given to Alex Solis in 2003. Garrett Gomez has won the award four times, the most of any jockey.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

NYRA AND JOCKEYS’ GUILD REACH THREE-YEAR AGREEMENT

 Under terms of the agreement, NYRA will make payments to the Guild that will benefit all jockeys who are members of the Guild, including life insurance, AD&D insurance, temporary disability payments and subsidizing health care for active riders, as well as providing benefits to the permanently disabled members, including reimbursements for medical and durable medical goods.

 

“We appreciate organizations like NYRA and a number of others who have chosen to stand up for the health, safety and welfare of the jockeys who ride at their tracks,” said Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “The benefits provided to the jockeys are vitally important and necessary because of the dangers jockeys face every day on the track. With the help of racetrack partners like NYRA, we are able to provide these benefits.”

 

“The jockeys at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga are world-class athletes who love horse racing and do a terrific job of helping to promote our great sport,” said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward. “We are very appreciative of the job they do and are pleased to enter into this new three-year agreement with the Jockeys’ Guild to ensure that our jockeys receive all of the critical medical benefits that reflect the risks associated with their profession.”

 

The agreement benefits not only NYRA based jockeys but 750 active and permanently disabled members nationally.

 

About the Jockeys’ Guild, Inc.

 

Jockeys’ Guild, Inc., the organization representing professional jockeys in Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing in the United States, was founded in May 1940 and has approximately 950 members, including active, retired and disabled jockeys. The purpose is to protect jockeys, strive to achieve a safer racing environment, to obtain improved insurance and other benefits for members and to monitor developments in local, state and federal laws affecting the racing industry, and in particular, the jockeys.

 

About The New York Racing Association, Inc.

 

Founded in 1955, and franchised to run thoroughbred racing at New York’s three major tracks through 2033, NYRA boasts a lineage that actually stretches back almost 150 years. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of the state’s thoroughbred business which contributes more than $2 billion annually to New York State’s urban, suburban and rural economy. In 2009, more than 1.6 million people attended the live races at NYRA tracks. Factoring nationwide off-track wagering, the average daily betting handle on NYRA races alone totals more than $9.3 million every race day. NYRA has a vast network of websites, including www.nyra.com, www.belmontstakes.com, and www.nyragroupsales.com. You can also follow NYRA on social media platforms Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

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Contact:  the Jockeys’ Guild, (859) 523-5625

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Leparoux Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

Leparoux captured the Fayette Stakes (G2) on October 29, closing day of the Keeneland meet, aboard Wise Dan. He won the fall riding title at Keeneland for the third time. He also has won four spring titles at the Lexington track.

For the year through November 1, Leparoux ranks sixth among all North American riders by purse earnings with $11,781,914 and 11th by wins with 205.

Originally from France, the 28-year-old rider won both the Eclipse Award for outstanding apprentice jockey (2006) and outstanding jockey (2009).
Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Jockeys’ Guild hosting five disabled riders during Breeders’ Cup World Championships

“We feel that it’s important to recognize and honor those riders who have suffered disabling injuries while on the track,” said John Velazquez, an active jockey and board chairman of the Guild.  “We want to show our appreciation for their efforts over the years and want them to have a great two days at the races.”

Among the disabled jockeys who will be attending the Breeders’ Cup as guests of the Guild is Eibar Coa, who won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Big Drama. Coa suffered a severe spinal injury February 18 at a spill at Gulfstream Park, and is continuing his rehabilitation.

Other guests include:

·       Michael Straight, who was injured at Arlington Park in August 2009. He suffered head and spinal cord injuries and is paralyzed from the waist down;

·       Randall Meier, who suffered a severe injury and cervical fracture during  a fall at Hawthorne Race Course in December 2009;

·       Gary Birzer, who suffered a spinal cord injury and remains paralyzed from the waist down after an accident at Mountaineer Race Track in West Virginia in July, 2004;

·       Janio Cruz, who suffered a fractured vertebra at Turf Paradise in Arizona earlier this year;

The Guild provides life insurance and aid to the permanently disabled members, as well as life insurance, AD&D insurance and temporary disability benefits to its active members.

“These men and women jockeys have been inspirational to all of us,” added Velazquez. “Their competitive spirit has kept them fighting through their injuries. It will be a pleasure to host each of them at the Breeders’ Cup later this week.”

Jockeys’ Guild, Inc., the organization representing professional jockeys in American Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing, was founded in May 1940 and has approximately 950 members, including active, retired and disabled jockeys. The purpose is to protect jockeys, strive to achieve a safer racing environment, to obtain improved insurance and other benefits for members and to monitor developments in local, state and federal laws affecting the racing industry, and in particular, the jockeys. 

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Stronach Group announces long-term support for Jockeys’ Guild

Under the terms of the 3-year deal, each of the six Stronach Group racetracks will make payments to the Jockeys’ Guild to help subsidize health insurance, life insurance and disability benefits as well as benefits for all jockeys who are members of the Guild and ride in the United States.  The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness Stakes.

 

            Mike Rogers, Vice President, Racing of The Stronach Group, stated:  “This is the right thing to do for the jockeys and the sport.  Frank Stronach has always believed in the importance of all segments of the horse racing industry doing their part to support the health and welfare of the jockeys.”

 

            Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, stated:  “We very much appreciate the commitment and support from Frank Stronach and The Stronach Group racetracks.  This agreement will directly benefit approximately 750 active and permanently disabled members.  Currently, the Guild provides life insurance, AD&D insurance and temporary disability benefits to its active members, as well as life insurance and aid to the permanently disabled members.  To continue this effort, it is critical that we receive support from all of our racetrack partners within the industry.  We all should be working together to help promote our sport.”

           

About The Stronach Group

 

            The Stronach Group is a privately-held consortium that owns, operates and manages a number of leading businesses in a wide range of industries, including:  Thoroughbred racing and gaming; Thoroughbred horse breeding; agriculture; electric vehicle technologies; and medical technologies.  The Stronach Group also owns a number of premier development properties and real estate assets in North American and Europe.

 

About The Jockeys’ Guild

 

            Jockeys’ Guild, Inc., the organization representing professional jockeys in American Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing, was founded in May, 1940 and has approximately 950 members, including active, retired disabled jockeys.  The purpose is to protect jockeys, strive to achieve a safer racing environment, to obtain improved insurance and other benefits for members and to monitor developments in local, state and federal laws affecting the racing industry, and in particular, the jockeys.

 

PDJF

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