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West Virginia Court Rules In Favor Jockeys

LEXINGTON, Ky. (September 4, 2014) – A case that initially began in March of 2009 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races (owned by Penn National Gaming, Inc. “PNGI”), has been decided in a major victory for the seven jockeys, including Luis Perez, Anthony Mawing, Dale Whitaker, Lawrence Reynolds, Jesus Sanchez, Alexis Rios-Conde, and Tony Maragh.  On August 29, 2014, the Hon. Paul Zakaib, Jr. of the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, issued a ruling in favor of the jockeys, reversing and remanding the decision of the West Virginia Racing Commission’s Order suspending and fining the jockeys.

The Court held that the Commission’s final order constituted “unlawful rulemaking retroactively applied” and the record was insufficient to support the findings of the Commission.

The case began when seven jockeys at the Charles Town Racetrack were allegedly caught failing to weigh out properly.  “Weighing out” refers to the jockeys stepping on the scales, before going out to race, to insure that their weight matches the weight assigned to the horse they are riding.  On April 8, 2009, only these seven jockeys were summarily suspended by the Racing Commission, even though all other jockeys engaged in the same procedures when weighing out on the days in question. PNGI proceeded to exclude these jockeys from the racetrack on April 14, 2009.

After a lengthy factual hearing and legal proceeding, the Commission suspended the jockeys for 30 days and fined them each $1,000.  However, based on the arbitrary application of the rules by the Commission, under the advice of the Jockeys’ Guild and counsel, the jockeys appealed the decision to the Circuit Court.

The Guild has continually supported the jockeys and was actively involved in this litigation, as well as the litigation regarding the right of exclusion.  In that matter, the West Virginia Supreme Court upheld the decision against PNGI and concluded that PNGI’s efforts to exclude these Charles Town jockeys deprived them of a meaningful opportunity for judicial review of the Commission imposed penalties. 

The jockeys were represented and the case was tried by Charleston, West Virginia lawyers Benjamin L. Bailey and Christopher S. Morris of Bailey & Glasser.  Mr. Bailey said, “We could not be happier for our brave clients.  This decision vindicates their character and sportsmanship.  Their long saga will benefit the entire racing community in West Virginia, setting the standards and procedures to be applied to racing licensees.”

“We are pleased with the Court’s decision,” said Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Guild.  “The riders have had to fight a tremendous battle and have had their reputations called into question.  We hope that this decision will set the record straight and it will be recognized that none of the jockeys violated the rules of racing, nor did they do anything that would be considered illegal or defrauding the betting public. However, it should recognized that since the circumstances of the case arose, the Guild has worked closely with the West Virginia Racing Commission in improving the rules and regulations.  We have developed a good working relationship with the Commission.”

During the proceeding, facts have been established that the scale was not properly calibrated and the clerk of scales, who was an employee of Charles Town, was not adequately trained in proper procedures for weighing out and weighing in the jockeys. 

“This could have been avoided if the racetrack would have made sure that the clerk of scales was properly trained,” said Meyocks.  “All racing officials, whether it be the clerk of scales, racing office personnel, assistant starters, etc., need to have adequate experience and training.”

The Guild’s legal counsel is also determining what can be done with regards to damages suffered by the individual jockeys and whether or not they can seek recovery of the significant legal fees that were expended during these years of litigation.

 

About the Guild

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 1150 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. More information at www.jockeysguild.com and www.facebook.com/jockeysguild.

Contact:  Jockeys’ Guild 859-523-5625     



DURING SEPTEMBER, JOCKEYS TO JOIN EFFORT TO BRING AWARENESS TO CHILDHOOD CANCER


LEXINGTON, KY (August 27, 2014) Jockey colonies across the country, in conjunction with racetrack management, are planning to make visits to their local children’s hospitals in September, which is designated as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

 

A number of racetracks including CDI properties (Arlington Park, Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds), The Stronach Group (Golden Gate, Gulfstream Park, Laurel and Santa Anita), NYRA (Belmont), The Downs at Albuquerque, Delaware Park, Emerald Downs, Belterra, San Joaquin County Fair at Stockton, Fairmount Park, Indiana Grand Casino and Racetrack, Lone Star Park, Los Alamitos, Louisiana Downs, Kentucky Downs, Remington Park, Prairie Meadows and Suffolk Downs have scheduled visits.  The jockeys will bring a variety of gifts for the children including autographed goggles, provided by Perfect Trip, and horseracing-related coloring books among other items.

 

“We are happy to make these visits to children who suffer from this insidious disease and hopefully we make their day a little brighter,” said Jockeys’ Guild Chairman John Velazquez.  “I know the jockeys enjoy visiting with the children,” he added.

 

 “We wanted to get involved to make a difference in the lives of these children and their families,” said Jockeys’ Guild National Manager Terry Meyocks.  He added, “we want to recognize the racetracks for their support and cooperation in helping to facilitate these visits.  We will continue to work with other racetracks that are running in September to heighten awareness of childhood cancer.”

 

Jockeys’ Guild Vice Chairman G.R. Carter said, “the jockeys always look forward to visiting children in the hospital.  We realize it means a great deal to them and it gives us a new perspective.”

 

In addition, the Jockeys’ Guild will supply jockeys at all tracks with live meets during September patches with the official Childhood Cancer Awareness gold insignia to wear on their pants during the month.

 

Scott Wells, President of the TRA and President of Lone Star Park and Remington Park said, “we appreciate the assistance the Jockeys’ Guild has given in rallying the jockey colonies in support of this important cause and we hope to make this an annual event.”

 

 

Contact:  Jockeys’ Guild 859-523-5625     

 

About the Guild

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 1150 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. More information at www.jockeysguild.com and www.facebook.com/jockeysguild.



THE NEXT STEPS FOR MICHAEL STRAIGHT
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 3, 2014)  From the time he was a kid, Michael Straight, loved the race track and knew that he was going to be a jockey.  He and his brother, Matthew, set their sights on doing just that and, at the age of 10 or 11, they convinced their parents to get them an Equicizer, which is a mechanical horse used by riders to build their strength, skill, balance, flexibility, fitness and confidence.   In 2006, the brothers were both a part of the inaugural class at the North American Racing Academy, which was founded by Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron, in Lexington, Kentucky.  

Michael and Matthew both became licensed jockeys and began riding.  In 2009, Michael had his first win on March 6that Tampa Bay Downs and after 39 winners from 372 starts, his future looked promising.  What he could not have known was how quickly that would all change.

On August 26, 2009, Michael was riding the eighth race at Arlington Park when his mount, Im No Gentleman, fell. Suffering head and spinal injuries, Straight was paralyzed from the waist down.

Since that time, his dream changed from being a jockey to being able to walk again.  Through the help of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, this has become a reality for Michael.  He is walking in a bionic exoskeleton manufactured by Ekso Bionics, Inc., which provides upright ambulation for persons with chronic, disabling disorders such as spinal cord injury (“SCI”).  The "exoskeletons" are being used to give paraplegics and low-level quadriplegics something they may have only dreamed about before: the ability to stand and walk again on their own.

“I am just so excited that I have been able to participate and work with the Miami Project,” said Michael.  “I truly want to thank everybody who has continued to believe in me and helped me get to this point.  Since I posted that I was going to be able to do this and that I actually walked for 8 minutes 25 seconds and a total of 126 steps; the response from everybody has been awesome.”

“The Miami Project has enjoyed a close and rewarding relationship with the horseracing industry through longstanding support of our research center by people like Robin Cleary, as well as the Jockeys’ Guild,” said Dr. Mark S. Nash, Professor of Neurological Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine at The Miami Project.  “We are pleased to have Michael continue this tradition with our research program, which allows us to study ways in which walking in the device may prevent secondary medical complications that accompany SCI.  Volunteers, including Michael, permit us to study the human body after SCI in ways that could not be undertaken through animal studies or computer modeling.”

“We are so appreciative of The Miami Project, what they have done and are continuing to do,” said John Velazquez, Chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild and Board member of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (“PDJF”).  “This research is very important for so many lives, including a number of jockeys who receive support from the PDJF, as well as other individuals in the racing industry.  We are so proud of Michael.  His hard work and determination is inspiring to all of us.” 

The PDJF is a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides financial assistance to former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.  On Saturday, July 26th, racetracks, fans, jockeys, and industry leaders are being asked to unite in a show of support for the PDJF and its mission for the First Annual Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund (PDJF) Day Across America.

Contact:  Jockeys’ Guild 859-523-5625     

 

About the Guild

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 1150 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. More information at www.jockeysguild.com and www.facebook.com/jockeysguild.

About The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis is the world's most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center and is dedicated to finding more effective treatments for, and ultimately a cure for paralysis.  The Miami Project has assembled a broad spectrum of researchers, clinicians, and therapists whose expertise relate directly to the problem of SCI and whose full-time focus is SCI research. By uniting this broad range of knowledge and talents, The Miami Project team of scientists is accelerating the search for effective treatments for SCI.

 

 

 





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

STATEMENT OF POLICY ON RACE DAY MEDICATION AND SAFETY CONCERNS FROM THE JOCKEYS’ GUILD

 

 

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (April 30, 2012) – The board of directors of the Jockeys’ Guild has voted to adopt the following policy statement concerning race day medications and safety concerns:

 

 

1.     The safety of human and equine athletes must be paramount at all times in racing.

 

2.     We participate on, and support the mission of, the Racing Medication Testing Consortium board (“RMTC”), which is striving to develop and promote uniform rules, policies and testing standards at the national level; coordinate research and educational programs that seek to ensure the integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants; and protect the interests of the racing public.

 

3.     The rules regarding race day medication should be uniform throughout the United States through the creation of an Interstate Compact on Horse Racing which will enable states to act cooperatively with more uniform, effective and efficient practices, programs, rules and regulations related to racing.

 

4.     We support the RMTC’s recommendation to reduce the threshold of in blood for phenylbutazone (“Bute”) from 5 micrograms/milliliter (ug/ml) to 2 micrograms/milliliter (ug/ml).

 

5.     We support mandatory PRE-RACE Veterinary exams as the only real guarantee against unsafe horses on the race track.  We believe there should a stronger emphasis on the responsibility of the veterinarian in the afternoon to scratch horses which are not warming up soundly during the post-parade.

 

6.  We agree that the improper use of clenbuterol and illegally compounded non-FDA approved substances is a serious concern.  We support the RMTC’s current efforts to determine the withdrawal times before a horse so treated can be allowed to race.

 

7.  We agree that corticosteroids have to be thoroughly studied and limited in use as the science dictates.

 

 8. We support rigorous limits on extracorporeal shock wave therapy.  Every owner, trainer, or veterinarian who owns or buys a shock wave therapy apparatus must register it with the Commission, Board of Stewards and race track where is being used before it is used and give notice every time it is used.  Shock Wave therapy needs to be conducted at a designated area, overseen by a regulatory veterinarian or racing official, the details of any such treatment for any horse shall be provided to all jockeys and the horse shall not race within 10 days of treatment as currently stated in the ARCI Model Rules.

 

9.  We agree that no adjunct race day medications are permissible.

 

10. We support continuing scientific studies of the safety of utilizing Furosomide (“Lasix”) as a race day medication and will work with the industry to take any actions necessary to ensure safety.  If Lasix is used it shall be administered by a regulatory veterinarian.

 

About the Guild

 

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. More information at www.jockeysguild.com and www.facebook.com/jockeysguild.

 




CONTACT:  Jockeys’ Guild (859) 523-JOCK (523-5625)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Jockeys’ Guild announces launch of Jockey Injury Database; aim is to track trends, protect riders

 

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (April 4, 2012) –The Jockeys’ Guild today announced the creation of the Jockey Injury Database, a new program aimed at preventing rider injuries in the future.

 

The Jockey Injury Database will collect information on jockey injuries at racetracks, including where, when and how injuries occurred, what type of equipment riders were wearing at the time, and the nature and severity of the injuries.

 

When a jockey injury occurs, the information will be gathered confidentially by medical personnel at racetracks, as well as by Guild representatives, and then entered into a database to be analyzed at a later date. In the database, jockeys will not be identified by name nor will the tracks where incidents occur.

 

“We constantly work with tracks and the industry to ensure the safety of jockeys,” said Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “This program was first conceived at the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit and it has been in the works for several years. We are thrilled to see it come to fruition. Its goal is to find ways to reduce racing injuries and create a safer racing environment.”

 

The new data collection system has been created with the assistance of Keeneland, The Jockey Club and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Safety and Integrity Alliance.

 

Keeneland will be the first racetrack in the country to start collecting the data and will do so when the spring meet begins April 6.

 

“Once we are comfortable with the process, we will be sending information packets to each racetrack further explaining the goals and design of the project while encouraging their participation,” said Meyocks. 

 

As data is collected, it will be analyzed for trends. There is no cost to tracks to participate in this project, and those providing data will be recognized when the analysis is ultimately published in the medical literature.

 

“This prospective collection of information will allow us to better evaluate rider safety equipment, racetrack surface type, first-responder options, and a host of variables just as other professional sports do on behalf of their athletes both in the U.S. and abroad," said Dr. Barry Schumer, Keeneland Medical Director and co-creator of the program.

 

"Thoroughbred racing owes Dr. Schumer a tremendous debt of gratitude for his many hours of dedication to this project and the industry,” said Nick Nicholson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Keeneland.

 

The NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance will advocate participation in the Jockey Injury Database when tracks seek accreditation in the alliance. “Anything we can learn from accidents that happen on the racetrack to help improve the safety for our human and equine athletes is a plus for the sport, said Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.  “We will encourage tracks applying for accreditation to participate in the database.”

 

The Jockey Club and The Jockey Club Technology Services, Inc. provided complimentary software development in the creation of the Jockey Injury Database as a service to the industry. Data collection and analysis will be performed by a research team from the University of Kentucky headed by Drs. Christian Lattermann and Carl Mattacola from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.

 

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, 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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JOCKEYS’ GUILD ASSEMBLY SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 30-31, 2012

 

            Nicholasville, KY January 10, 2012. The annual Jockeys’ Guild Assembly will be held in Hollywood, Florida Monday, January 30 and Tuesday, January 31.  A cocktail reception will be held the evening of January 29.

 

            The Assembly, a gathering of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse riders from across the United States, will focus on issues of importance to the members including racetrack contributions, membership as well as health, safety and insurance updates.

 

            “We are holding the Assembly in south Florida in close proximity to Gulfstream Park and Hialeah both conducting live racing,” said Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild.  It’s in the best interest of all our members to make every effort to join us to provide input and feedback onthe issues and future priorities of the Guild.”

 

            To make hotel reservations, contact the Crowne Plaza/Hollywood Beach at (954) 454-3223 and mention the Jockeys’ Guild block of rooms.  For more information on the Assembly, contact the Jockeys’ Guild office at 866-465-6257.

 



November 21, 2011

 

 

THIS LETTER WAS SENT TO THE GOVERNOR AND ALL ILLINOIS LEGISLATORS

 

As the national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, an organization representing the health, safety and well-being of U.S. jockeys, I respectfully make the following request:

 

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            



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 21, 2011

WEST VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT DECISION UPHOLDS JOCKEYS RIGHTS TO

RACING COMMISSION REVIEW FOLLOWING RACETRACK DECISION

In a major victory for jockeys and the West Virginia Racing Commission, the West Virginia Supreme Court on Friday issued an Opinion holding that jockeys have a right to a review by the Commission of a decision by a racetrack to eject them. The Court also found, on the facts of the specific case before it, that Charles Town Races had waived its objections to the issues before the Court.

The case began in March of 2009, when seven jockeys at the Charles Town Racetrack were allegedly caught failing to weigh out properly. “Weighing out” refers to the jockeys stepping on the scales, before going out to race, to insure that their weight matches the weight assigned to the horse they are riding. On April 8 of 2009, the jockeys were suspended by the Racing Commission, and on April 14 by the racetrack. Two days later, the jockeys were granted an injunction by the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, allowing them to continue racing while their suspensions were under review. On that same day, after the racetrack took the position that its suspension was not barred by the injunction; the jockeys returned to court and were granted an injunction against the racetrack, as well.

Following lengthy factual hearings and legal proceeding, the Commission’s decision to suspend the jockeys was appealed by the jockeys back to the Kanawha County court, and the racetrack sought to be relieved of the injunction so it could suspend the riders.

This appeal affirmed the Kanawha County Court’s decision upholding the injunction until all legal proceedings before it can be resolved.

The racetrack appealed that decision, the jockeys and the Racing commission responded, and the Jockeys’ Guild filed an amicus brief on their members’ behalf.

Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, said “The Guild is extremely pleased that the highest court in West Virginia has upheld the case against Penn National Gaming Inc. (PNGI) for excluding jockeys from its Charles Town race track.

The Guild strongly supported the jockeys and was actively involved in this litigation. The Appeals Court concluded that PNGI’s efforts to exclude these Charles Town jockeys would deprive them of a meaningful opportunity for judicial review of the Commission imposed penalties. We think this is a national problem in which licensed jockeys have been unfairly prevented from riding at tracks without any due process and this decision helps clarify that our members cannot be unfairly excluded,” said Meyocks.

“The West Virginia court’s reasoning should apply in every state and our members will now have a right to appeal to their racing commission from any track imposed exclusions. We appreciate the support of the West Virginia Racing Commission and our Guild membership, especially the Board and the Charles Town jockey colony, who helped make this court action possible,” said Meyocks.

Ben Bailey, of Bailey & Glasser in Charleston, West Virginia, represented the individual jockeys and argued their appeal. Said Bailey: “All seven of these men are pleased. This opinion makes it clear that each jockey has a fundamental right to due process protection of his or her occupational racing permit, from the unbridled discretion of racetrack management. The opinion properly balances the authority of the State to regulate racing with the property interests of the jockeys and the racetracks who hold licenses from the Racing Commission. We look forward to finally resolving their case back in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County.”

The Racing Commission was represented in the appeal by Kelli Talbott, Deputy Attorney General for Darrell V. McGraw, Jr., Attorney General of West Virginia.

The court’s opinion may be found at http://www.courtswv.gov/supremecourt/

docs/fall2011/101503.

For questions, please feel free to call Terry Meyocks at (859) 305-0630 or Ben Bailey at

(304) 345-6555.

**



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                CONTACT:  Mike Rogers                                                   mrogers@adenastallions.com          

 

                                                                                   

Stronach Group announces long-term support for Jockeys’ Guild

 ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 1, 2011)—The Stronach Group announced today that it has entered into a long-term agreement to support the Jockeys’ Guild and its member jockeys.  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.

 

 

            

November is ‘Jockey Health and Safety’ Month

Race fans asked to wear green to show support for jockeys

 

LOUISVILLE (Oct. 31, 2011) – Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has proclaimed November “Jockey Health and Safety Month” in advance of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs November 4-5.

 

In support of the proclamation, the Jockeys’ Guild is asking all horse racing supporters and fans to wear something green to the track during the month of November to show their appreciation for jockeys. Green symbolizes both safety and “go” – two topics always on a jockey’s mind.

 

The Jockeys’ Guild is inviting several disabled jockeys to enjoy the Breeders Cup as guests of the Guild.

 

“There aren’t many professions like horse racing, where ambulances follow you as you work,” said Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “We want race fans to understand the risks jockeys take on the track while constantly looking for ways to reduce those risks. To have jockeys see this visible sign of support will be greatly uplifting.”

 

Unfortunately, the danger that jockeys face has been highlighted this year with severe injuries to Eibar Coa, winning jockey of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Coa is undergoing rehabilitation after suffering a broken neck in a spill in Florida in February. In addition, Jacky Martin, the legendary quarter horse jockey, remains paralyzed after a serious spill at Ruidoso Downs in September.

 

“Nearly one in five riders who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild suffered some sort of disability last year, either temporary or permanent,” said Meyocks, “and since the median income of our riders is $38,000 or less per year, that presents a tremendous hardship on our jockeys and their families. We want to focus on the health and safety of jockeys to ensure that the sport of horse racing thrives.”

 

Jockeys will be discussing the issue of rider safety at various events throughout November, including public appearances and charitable events. They also will be handing out green “Jockey Boot” patches for people to wear to show support for rider health and safety.

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. 


JOCKEYS TO RIDE FOR JACKY MARTIN ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8th

 

September 26, 2011. A national fund raiser for seriously injured Quarter Horse jockey Jacky Martin will be held at racetracks across the country on Saturday, October 8th.

 

On that day, both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse jockeys are being asked to contribute a losing mount fee to the “Jacky Martin Fund” to help with costs associated with the long-term care for the champion Quarter Horse jockey who was paralyzed after a spill at Ruidoso Downs on September 2 when his horse, Phire Power, broke down after the finish of the sixth race.

 

To bring awareness to Martin, and in his honor, jockeys will be riding with a boot decal with Jacky’s name.

 

Because of the considerable costs associated with Jacky’s injuries, his medical care and needs will exceed well beyond the limit of the $500,000 on-track insurance policy provided by Ruidoso Downs.

 

“It is critically important that the funds raise enough money to help with the long-term care for Jacky,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild.  “Insurance only covers so much of the needed costs.  We are asking jockeys and individuals to help Jacky carry on his life after this catastrophic event.  All donations are appreciated.”

 

Tax deductible donations can be made to the fund by sending a check made out to the Ruidoso Downs Race Track Chaplaincy at P.O. Box 449, Ruidoso Downs, NM  88346.  It is important to write on the memo line “Jacky Martin Fund” to ensure that the money is contributed to the Jacky Martin Fund.

 

R.D. and Joan Dale Hubbard have generously donated $100,000 to seed the fund.

 

Martin was named Jockey of the year in 2010 and has won the All-American Futurity seven times.  He is a member of the Ruidoso Hall of Fame.  He is currently in rehabilitation at the TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas.  It is the same facility that treated Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

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Contact: Jockeys’ Guild  (859) 523-5625

 



JOCKEYS’ GUILD TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR MEMBERS

 

July 25, 2011. The Jockeys’ Guild is pleased to announce, with the assistance of RH Clarkson Insurance Agency of Louisville,  an increase in coverage and benefits through Aetna for its members.  The Guild’s Board of Directors approved the new policy which went into effect July 1, 2011. 

 

Under the new policy, the active members are eligible for a term life insurance benefit in the amount of $10,000 to $125,000, depending on the number of mounts they have ridden and contributed on during the previous calendar year.  Retired members will now be eligible for a term life insurance benefit in the amount of $15,000, an increase over what was previously provided. 

 

In addition to the life insurance benefit already provided to our active members, they will also be covered under an Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) policy.  This policy will provide benefits in the amount of $10,000 to $125,000, depending on the number of mounts they have ridden and contributed on during the previous calendar year and the severity of the injury sustained.  This coverage applies to on-track accidents AND 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to any other covered accidents off of the track.   Under the AD&D policy, members will also be eligible to receive benefits under a Travel Assistance Program, a Legal Reference Plan, the possibility of an accelerated benefit and a coma benefit if necessary, as well as other services provided by Aetna.

 

The additional coverage and benefits under the new policy will be provided at no additional cost to the active or retired members. 

 

“The Guild has worked tirelessly to increase benefits for both its active and retired members,” said John Velazquez, Chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild.  “We felt the AD&D coverage was such an important benefit, given the extreme risks associated with being a jockey.  This additional benefit will assist the members, as well as their families, and will possibly prevent having to seek the assistance of other industry partners every time a catastrophic event occurs.”

 

Bobby Clarkson, owner of Robert H. Clarkson Insurance Agency, stated “We believe this is just the first step and we hope to continue working with the Guild to provide additional benefits moving forward.  As a long-time fan of the sport, I am well aware of the inherent dangers of the sport and need for such benefits for the jockeys. ”

 

“I would like to thank AETNA for providing the Guild with these additional benefits for our members at an affordable rate, as well as Bobby Clarkson and all of his staff at RH Clarkson Insurance Group for all of their time and expertise in putting together such a beneficial policy,” said Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. 

 

“The monies received from its membership, as well as from the tracks who contribute to the Guild, are used to provide our membership with as many benefits as possible.   We are continuing to work on safety initiatives and research in hopes that benefits such as these will not be necessary.  However, until then at least the members and their families will have some peace of mind.”

 

A separate communication will be distributed to the members to fully explain the benefits and the Guild strongly encourages all members to review the Summary of Benefits. 

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Contact: Jockeys’ Guild  (859) 523-5625

Jockeys’ Guild, Inc., the organization representing professional jockeys in American Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing, was founded in May 1940 and has approximately 900 members, including both active and retired 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. 

 




Speedhorse
Magazine and Jockeys’ Guild To Present

1st Annual Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award at Ruidoso Downs

 

Speedhorse Magazine, Norman, OK, July 15, 2011--Something new will be added to the upcoming Labor Day weekend at Ruidoso Downs with the presentation of the first annual Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award on All American Derby Day, Sunday, September 4th. The ceremony will take place in the winner’s circle and will include the winner’s family, friends and peers.

 

Quarter Horse racing publication Speedhorse Magazine, in conjunction with the Jockeys’ Guild, will present the award to the winning Quarter Horse jockey, elected by ballot by his peers. The award is established in honor of the memory of late Quarter Horse jockey Sam Thompson, who was highly respected both on and off the track. 

 

Thompson passed away due to injuries sustained after his mount broke down past the wire on December 21, 2008 at Los Alamitos Race Course.   Known as one of the leaders in the jockeys’ room during his riding career, Thompson was a Jockeys’ Guild senator and the room representative at Los Alamitos. He was involved with Los Alamitos management during the expansion and renovation of the jockeys’ room at the Orange County track and a council member of the Los Alamitos division of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America.

 

Speedhorse Magazine requested the Jockeys’ Guild select five Quarter Horse jockey nominees. Those five names were placed on ballots that were then distributed to all tracks currently hosting Quarter Horse racing. The ballots were distributed only to Quarter Horse riders at those tracks who have competed in at least 10 Quarter Horse pari-mutuel races in the last 12 months. The award is exclusive to the nationwide Quarter Horse jockey colony.

 

The 2011 nominees are:  Roy Brooks, G.R. Carter, Jr., Alfonso Lujan, Freddie Martinez, and Gilbert Ortiz. 

 

The criteria of the voting was structured around the personal characteristics of the nominees both on and off the track, which has resulted in a positive reflection on the Quarter Horse industry as a whole.

 

 

For more information, contact: Greg Thompson, Speedhorse Magazine at 817-270-5190

Or Jockeys’ Guild at 859-523-5625

 

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April 18, 2011

 

 

COLORADO JOCKEYS RECEIVE INCREASE

 

The Jockeys’ Guild and the Colorado Horse Racing Association (CHA) have reached an agreement on a new mount fee schedule that will provide an increase in base mount fees for jockeys for all races run in Colorado.  The new scale is to go into effect on May 27, 2011, opening day of Arapahoe Park.

 

The new mount fee schedule calls for a minimum mount fee of $50 ranging up to $110 depending on the purse of the race.  Previously mount fees in Colorado were scaled from $40 to $105. 

 

“I would like to thank Mark D. McGregor (President of CHA), Shannon Rushton (Executive Director of CHA), Bruce Seymour (Chief Operating Officer of Arapahoe Park), as well as Dan Hartman (former Executive Director of Colorado Racing Commission) for working together to reach this agreement.” said John Beech, regional manager for the Jockeys’ Guild.  “I would also like to thank the jockeys in Colorado for their support throughout the negotiations.”

 

This new scale follows increases in mount fees through legislation at California tracks and negotiated increases at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Saratoga, Finger Lakes, Monmouth, Meadowlands, Atlantic City, Hawthorne, Arlington Park, Fairmount Park, Gulfstream Park, Calder, Tampa Bay Downs, Tropical Park, Fair Grounds, Louisiana Downs, Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Emerald Downs, Turf Paradise, Yavapai Downs, Indiana Downs, Hoosier Park, Delaware Park, Charles Town, Mountaineer, Prairie Meadows, Oaklawn, Fair Meadows at Tulsa, Remington Park, Will Rogers Downs, Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Turfway Park, Ellis Park, Sunland Park, SunRay Park, Zia Park, The Downs at Albuquerque and Ruidoso Downs.  Jockeys at Philadelphia Park, Penn National and Presque Isle have also received raises in their losing mount fees.  Negotiations are ongoing in other racing jurisdictions.

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Contact: Jockeys’ Guild (859) 523-5625

April 7, 2011

NEW MEXICO JOCKEYS RECEIVE INCREASE

The Jockeys’ Guild and the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association have reached an agreement on a new mount fee schedule that will provide an increase in base mount fees for jockeys at all New Mexico tracks.   India Hatch, the executive director of the New Mexico Racing Commission, has temporarily approved the agreement.  The new scale is to go into effect on April 8, 2011 and then the full Commission is to ratify the new scale during its April Commission meeting.

 

The new mount fee schedule calls for a minimum mount fee of $50 ranging up to $110 depending on the purse of the race.  Additionally, a separate jockey fee was added for 4th place finisher.  Previously, mount fees in New Mexico were scaled from $38 to $105.  The new rule increases the mount fee scale for all races run at Sunland Park, SunRay Park, The Downs at Albuquerque, Ruidoso Downs and Zia Park.

 

“A lot of hard work over 2 ˝ years has gone into reaching this agreement,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager for the Jockeys’ Guild.  “I would like to thank our regional manager John Beech and our in-house counsel Mindy Coleman for their dedication to reaching an agreement.  Most of all, thanks go to the New Mexico jockeys for their patience and support during these prolonged negotiations.”

 

Previously, an increase in the jockey mount fees was approved by the New Mexico Racing Commission at its meeting on November 18.  However, on December 14th, the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association filed a complaint and application for a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent injunction against the New Mexico Racing Commission regarding the new pay scale.  A temporary restraining order was issued.

 

After a hearing on February 7, 2011, the Court held that although the Commission has the power to establish and set a new jockey mount fee scale, so long as proper procedures were followed.  The matter was then put back on Commission’s agenda for further consideration. 

 

During its February meeting, the New Mexico Horse Racing Commission elected not to take any further action regarding the mount fee increase but instructed representatives of the Jockeys’ Guild and the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association to meet again in hopes of reaching an agreement.  Through extensive negotiations in the last thirty days, the two organizations were able to reach an agreement.   

 

This new scale follows increases in mount fees through legislation at California tracks and negotiated increases at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Saratoga, Finger Lakes, Monmouth, Meadowlands, Atlantic City, Hawthorne, Arlington Park, Fairmount Park, Gulfstream Park, Calder, Tampa Bay Downs, Tropical Park, Fair Grounds, Louisiana Downs, Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Emerald Downs, Turf Paradise, Yavapai Downs, Indiana Downs, Hoosier Park, Delaware Park, Charles Town, Mountaineer, Prairie Meadows, Oaklawn, Fair Meadows at Tulsa, Remington Park, Will Rogers Downs, Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Turfway Park and Ellis Park.  Jockeys at Philadelphia Park, Penn National and Presque Isle have also received raises in their losing mount fees.  Negotiations are ongoing in other racing jurisdictions.

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Contact: Jockeys’ Guild  (859) 523-5625

February 10, 2011

 MOUNT FEE INCREASE APPROVED IN KENTUCKY

  The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved a one-year agreement with the Jockeys’ Guild, the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent Protective Association (KHBPA) and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association (KTA)  that will provide a raise in base mount fees for jockeys at all Kentucky tracks.

 Mount fees will now range from $50-$110 as opposed $45 to $105 under the old fee schedule.  Additionally, the mount fee for finishing fourth will range from $55 up to $90 for races with purses less than $100,000.  On races of $100,000 or more, the fee will be 5% of the owner’s share of the  purse.  The new schedule takes effect immediately.

 “Industry concerns in Kentucky led us to a compromise short of what we had hoped,” said Jeff Johnston, regional manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, “but the new scale offers a slight increase and fulfills some of the other requests by the jockeys.  We appreciate the cooperation of the KHBPA and the Commission and look forward to working with them in the future.”

  “While this is a one year agreement, it is a step forward,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “This agreement would not have been possible without the involvement of key Kentucky Horse Racing Commission staff.  The Kentucky jockeys and the Guild empathize with the owners, breeders and trainers concerning the state of the industry in Kentucky.  We are committed to working to help create a greater awareness of the issues facing the racing industry in the state.

 “Purses must be raised to be competitive nationally.  Breeders, owners and stallions are leaving the state.    Breeding farms are closing.  This has had a negative effect on the economy of the state, Kentucky’s racing industry and the racing industry nationwide.  We all need to work together to energize and restore this vital industry.”

  
This new scale follows increases in mount fees through legislation at California tracks and negotiated increases at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Saratoga, Finger Lakes, Monmouth, Meadowlands, Atlantic City, Hawthorne, Arlington Park, Fairmount Park, Gulfstream Park, Calder, Tampa Bay Downs, Tropical Park, Fair Grounds, Louisiana Downs, Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Emerald Downs, Turf Paradise, Yavapai Downs, Indiana Downs, Hoosier Park, Delaware Park, Charles Town, Mountaineer, Prairie Meadows, Oaklawn, Fair Meadows at Tulsa, Remington Park and Will Rogers Downs.  Jockeys at Philadelphia Park, Penn National and Presque Isle have also received raises in their losing mount fees.  Negotiations are ongoing in other racing jurisdictions.

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

 

 

January 25, 2011

 

JOCKEYS RECEIVE MOUNTFEEINCREASE AT EMERALD DOWNS

 

            The Jockeys’ Guild and the Washington HBPA have reached an agreement on a new mount fee schedule at Emerald Downs which will take effect when the track opens its 2011 racing season on

April 15.

 

            Mount fees will now range from $55-$115 as opposed $45 to $105 under the old fee schedule.

 

            “This agreement was a cooperative effort of the Washington HBPA, the jockeys and the Guild,” said Darrell Haire, regional manager for the Guild.  “I would like to thank Ronald Maus, the president of the Washington HBPA, and its board and staff for working with us on this agreement and also the spirit in which business was conducted.  I would also like to thank Paul George, chairman of the Washington Horse Racing Commission, and its members for their approval.”  

                                                                                               

            “The jockeys and the Guild are committed to help the Washington HBPA and Emerald Downs improve and promote racing for this great community,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild.  “This agreement is the beginning of our work together.  Through other cooperative efforts with the Washington HBPA, we believe we can have a positive impact on racing in the Seattle area.”    

 

            Ron Maus, president of the Washington Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, concurred with Meyocks’ assessment saying, ”We strongly believe that our industry benefits from our working cooperatively, and this is but one of our initiatives in making it so.  We are pleased to have the Guild and its members as partners in the Washington racing industry.”

 

This new scale follows increases in mount fees through legislation at California tracks and negotiated increases at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Saratoga, Finger Lakes, Monmouth, Meadowlands, Atlantic City, Hawthorne, Arlington Park, Fairmount Park, Gulfstream Park, Calder, Tampa Bay Downs, Tropical Park, Fair Grounds, Louisiana Downs, Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Turf Paradise, Yavapai Downs, Indiana Downs, Hoosier Park, Delaware Park, Charles Town, Mountaineer, Prairie Meadows, Oaklawn, Fair Meadows at Tulsa, Remington Park, Will Rogers Downs, Sunland Park, SunRay Park, The Downs at Albuquerque, Ruidoso Downs and Zia Park.  Jockeys at Philadelphia Park, Penn National and Presque Isle have also received raises in their losing mount fees.  Negotiations are ongoing in other racing jurisdictions.

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Contact: the Jockeys’ Guild  (859) 305-0606



January 20, 2011

 

PENSION FUND ADMINISTRATOR CHOSEN FOR CALIFORNIA LICENSED JOCKEYS’ RETIREMENT PLAN

            Pentegra Investment Services has been chosen as the pension fund administratorfor the California Licensed Jockeys’ Retirement Plan. 

 In 2008, legislation was passed in California which authorized advance deposit wagering (ADW).  As part of that legislation, a portion of the revenue generated by ADW is deposited into a trust jointly managed by the Jockeys’ Guild and the California Horse Racing Board.  All licensed California jockeys are eligible to participate in the plan.  Several million dollars have already accumulated in the pension plan, which will be allocated to an individual account for each eligible jockey.  A contribution will be made for every race that a jockey rides.

 Terry Meyocks, the National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, said “Nearly two hundred California jockeys have been enrolled in the plan, the first of its kind in the nation.  The California horse racing industry and the State Legislature have provided something to jockeys that they have never had:  retirement security.  They have the heartfelt appreciation of every jockey.  We hope that the California model will be adopted in other racing jurisdictions so that a jockey will have a degree of financial security when he or she retires.” 

 

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Contact: the Jockeys’ Guild  (859) 305-0606

 

December 8, 2010

 

 

 

ANNUAL MEETING OF THE JOCKEYS’ GUILD CONCLUDES IN ARIZONA;

SAFETY PANEL PROVIDES A HIGHLIGHT

 

An all-star panel of experts participating in a Rider Safety Summit provided one of the highlights at the 2010 Annual Assembly of the Jockeys’ Guild, which concluded Tuesday.

 

The Annual Assembly was held in conjunction with the University of Arizona’s 2010 Symposium on Racing and Gaming, at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson, Arizona. 

 

The joint seminar was presented by the Jockeys’ Guild, Association of Racing Commissioners  International (ARCI) and the Race Track Industry Program, which addressed important medical safety issues involving riders.

 

The panel included Dr. Ed Hall, Director of the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky; Dr. Oswald Steward, Director, Reeve-Irvine Research Center, Anatomy & Neurology School of Medicine at UC Irvine; Dr. Dalton Dietrich, Director of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis; Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance, who discussed best practices and minimum standards and Brad Kimbrell, Executive Vice President of InCompass who discussed the importance of the Jockey Health and Information System and the development of a national Jockey Injury Database.

 

Also on the agenda, retired NBC White House Correspondent Richard Valeriani conducted a seminar for Guild members on the media and how jockeys can best relate to the press.  

 

Victor Espinosa, Jr., Vice President of the Equibase Company, spoke to the assembly about future developments at Equibase.

 

            The Guild heard from Nancy LaSala, Executive Director of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), regarding the accomplishments of the organization in 2010 and its hope for the future.  The Guild adopted a resolution urging the tracks, horsemen’s groups, owners, racing related businesses and other industry organizations to actively support and contribute to the PDJF.

 

            During the business session, elections were held with John Velazquez re-elected as Chairman, G.R. Carter re-elected as Vice Chairman and Jerry LaSala was re-elected to the Treasurer’s post.  Joel Campbell was elected as Secretary of the Guild replacing Jon Court.  The Guild expressed a sincere appreciation for the dedication and hard work of Court in his position of Secretary.

 

Re-elected to the Board were Perry Compton, Rodney Prescott, Robby Albarado and Glen Murphy.  Ramon Dominguez was newly elected to the Board.

 

 

The Guild adopted an annual budget for 2011 that continues the process of erasing any deficits from the Chapter 11 proceeding that ended in 2008.

 

A committee consisting of Guild members and staff was appointed to further consider several insurance opportunities that would provide Guild members with additional coverage for on track accidents. 

 

The Guild extensively discussed the status of its 2011 Safety Initiative concerning helmets, vests and involvement in research on these safety items.  To that end, the Jockeys’ Guild has become a member of ASTM International (formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials) to facilitate such goals.

 

The Guild received a presentation from Mike Campbell, President of Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association concerning legislation to extend workers comp in Illinois to racetrack workers.  The Guild adopted a resolution supporting the extension of workers compensation to all racing industry employees in all states that do not yet provide that coverage.

 

Duncan Patterson, a long time member of the Delaware Racing Commission and the ARCI Rules Committee, addressed the assembly on various topics including the ARCI and the proposed Racing Compact.

 

            “I would like to thank all of the presenters for sharing their expertise with the Assembly,” said Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild.  I would also like to thank the University of Arizona and its Race Track Industry Program for providing us this forum.  They, along with the presenters, have helped make this year’s meeting a tremendous success. The sessions were both helpful and informative to all of us who attended the event.  The discussion of these issues will be helpful for both the racing industry and the Guild.”

 

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Contact: Jockeys’ Guild  (859) 305-0606



November 30, 2010

 

‘SAFETY SUMMIT’ HIGHLIGHTS 2010 ANNUAL ASSEMBLY

OF THE JOCKEYS’ GUILD

 

A Safety Summit headlines the 2010 Annual Assembly of the Jockeys’ Guild to be held December 6th and 7th.  The Annual Assembly will be held in conjunction with the University of Arizona’s 2010 Symposium on Racing and Gaming, at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson, Arizona. 

 

The assembly begins on Monday, December 6th with closed sessions in the morning and early afternoon.  The remainder of the sessions will be part of the symposium and are open to all symposium attendees.

 

The Rider Safety Summit, a joint seminar presented by the Guild, The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) and The Race Track Industry Program, will kick off the Symposium’s open sessions from 3:30-5:30 p.m.   The session will address safety issues involving jockeys.  Participating in the panel are Dr. Ed Hall, Director of the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky; Dr. Oswald Steward, Director, Reeve-Irvine Research Center, Anatomy & Neurology School of Medicine at UC Irvine; Dr. Dalton Dietrich, the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis; Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance and Brad Kimbrell, Vice President of Sales at InCompass. 

 

The panel participants will be discussing medical research on spinal cord and brain injuries, as well as suggest minimum standards for facilities, ambulances, and on-track and hospital treatment.  Ziegler will discuss the NTRA Code of Standards as well as minimum standards on medical personnel, facilities, ambulances and hospital care while Kimbrell will speak about Jockey Health Information Systems and an update on the development of a National Rider Injury Database.

 

On Tuesday, December 7th, Robert L. Evans, President and CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated, will address the Symposium from 8:00-9:30 a.m. 

 

            At 10:00-11:00 a.m., former NBC newsman, Richard Valeriani, will address the Assembly on the topic of jockeys and enhancing their public image. 

 

            Nancy LaSala, Executive Director of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund discusses the efforts of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund at 11:00 a.m. 

 

            Jockey Mike Smith will be honored by The Turf Publicists of America with Big Sport of Turfdom Award.  It will be presented along with the Race Track Industry Program Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, December 7th at 12:00 p.m. 

 

Following lunch, business will conclude with the Rider Safety Workshop featuring the panelists from the previous day’s Rider Safety Summit with more in depth discussion of the topic.

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Contact: Jockeys’ Guild  (859) 305-0606


November 22, 2010

 

NEW MEXICO JOCKEYS RECEIVE INCREASE

 

The New Mexico Racing Commission, at its meeting on November 18th, approved an increase in base mount fees for jockeys beginning with the opening of Sunland Park on December 10th.  The Jockeys’ Guild had previously attempted to reach an agreement with the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association, but was unable to do so.

 

The new mount fee schedule calls for a minimum mount fee of $58 ranging up to $113 depending on the purse of the race.  Additionally, a separate jockey fee was added for 4th place finisher.  Previously, mount fees in New Mexico were scaled from $38 to $105.  The new rule increases the riders mount fee scale for all races at New Mexico racetracks including all races at Sunland Park, SunRay Park, The Downs at Albuquerque, Ruidoso Downs and Zia Park.

 

“We really appreciate the support of Commissioner Larry Delgado and Commissioner Arnold Rael, who both took the time to meet jockeys, both Guild and non-Guild members, and the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association in attempt to reach an agreement, as well as Commission Chairman Marty Cope and the rest of the Commission members for their time in facilitating the changes to the current scale,” said Mindy L. Coleman, counsel for the Jockeys’ Guild.  “We would also like to thank India Hatch (executive director of the New Mexico Racing Commission), Pat Bingham (executive director of the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association), the ad hoc committee established by the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association, as well as the jockeys, particularly G.R. Carter, Ken Tohill and Casey Lambert, for their hard work in attempting to reach an agreement.  It was just unfortunate that we were unable to do so.  After almost two years of attempts, we were forced to seek the assistance of the Commission to facilitate a new fee schedule.”

 

 “We believe the New Mexico Racing Commission acted in the best interest of horse racing for the state of New Mexico,” said John Beech, regional manager for the Jockeys’ Guild.  “Just as we worked together to attain this goal, we look forward to working with the New Mexico Racing Commission and all parties involved for the betterment of racing in the state.”

 

This new scale follows increases in mount fees through legislation at California tracks and negotiated increases at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Saratoga, Finger Lakes, Monmouth, Meadowlands, Atlantic City, Hawthorne, Arlington Park, Fairmount Park, Gulfstream Park, Calder, Tampa Bay Downs, Tropical Park, Fair Grounds, Louisiana Downs, Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Turf Paradise, Yavapai Downs, Indiana Downs, Hoosier Park, Delaware Park, Charles Town, Mountaineer, Prairie Meadows, Oaklawn, Fair Meadows at Tulsa, Remington Park and Will Rogers Downs.  Jockeys at Philadelphia Park, Penn National and Presque Isle have also received raises in their losing mount fees.  Negotiations are ongoing in two other racing jurisdictions.

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Contact: The Jockeys’ Guild  (859) 305-0606



November 9, 2010

 

 

JOCKEY JAVIER CASTELLANO RECEIVES A TEMPORARY INJUNCTION AND

ORDER GRANTING STAY OF SUSPENSION PENDING APPEAL

Jockey Javier Castellano has been granted a Temporary Injunction and Stay in Franklin County Circuit Court in Frankfort, Kentucky to prevent the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) from enforcing his six-day suspension due to an incident in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs on November 5th.  The stewards handed out the suspension on November 7th and the KHRC refused to grant Castellano a stay pending his appeal of the length of the suspension.

 Castellano has retained as counsel, Joel B. Turner of Frost Brown Todd, LLC to represent him.

 “In essence, the judge ruled that if the Commission is permitted to enforce its suspension without the opportunity to exhaust administrative remedies, Javier will be irreparably harmed and denied the statutory due process available to him pursuant to Kentucky law,” said Castellano’s attorney, Joel B. Turner.  “Judge Shepherd immediately understood the arguments we made for Javier and was extremely sensitive to the urgent need for a ruling.  We are very pleased to have obtained this result for our client.”

 “Judge Shepherd stated that it “appears on the face of the Complaint that Petitioner has raised substantial issues of law, including the issue of whether there is a violation of due process of law when the Commission requires imposition of the penalty prior to administrative review of the action of the Steward,” said Mindy Coleman, Counsel for the Jockeys’ Guild.  “To clarify the status of Castellano, the court further held that he ‘continues to be in good standing and continues to hold the right to engage in horse racing’ which will allow him to ride in Japan without any questions.

 “As far as we know, the KHRC has never denied a jockey a stay pending due process right to an appeal.  In effect, the KHRC is making Javier serve his penalty before the matter is adjudicated.  Only once in the past four years has a suspension of more than three days been handed out to a jockey in Kentucky.

  “On March 17, 2010, the KHRC changed the regulation regarding appeals of rulings to include what constitutes a frivolous appeal and additional penalties for such.  Since that time, the Guild has asked on numerous occasions that the KHRC consider allowing jockeys to be able to ride a designated race during a rider’s suspension, as it is done in other major racing jurisdictions.  There is yet to be consideration of that request by the Rules Committee or the Racing Commission, not to mention a number of other issues we wanted to discuss with them.”

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Contact:  Jockeys’ Guild, Inc.  (859) 305-0606              

 


October 28, 2010

 

JOCKEYS TO RAISE MONEY AND AWARENESS IN AID OF FAMILIES

OF JOCKEYS IN TRAGIC ACCIDENTS

 

 

            Jockeys across the nation will honor the late jockey Mark Villa and the seriously injured Michael Martinez on November 5th and 6th, Breeders’ Cup weekend.

 

            Guild members will ride with a Jockeys’ Guild decal on their boots and all jockeys will be asked to donate one losing mount fee to each of the two charities providing assistance.

 

            Mark Villa was killed in an accident at Zia Park on September 25th.  Michael Martinez suffered a severed spinal cord and a major head injury in a spill at Golden Gate Fields on September 12th.

 

            Villa is survived by his wife, Krystal, and six-year-old twins, Olivia and Garrett.  Martinez and his fiancée, Charlotte, are the parents of a baby girl, Merari, born shortly after his injury.  Martinez is currently undergoing rehabilitation in California at the Rehabilitation Center at Santa Clara Medical Center.

 

            Contributions can be made to the charity aiding the family of Mark Villa by sending a check made out to Race Track Chapel to the mailing address Ruidoso Downs, Race Track Chapel, P.O. Box 449, Ruidoso Downs, NM 88346 with the notation “Mark Villa Family” on the memo line.

 

            Donations to the charity providing help to Michael Martinez and his family can be made out to “Michael Martinez Fund” and sent to Golden Gate Fields, 1100 Eastshore Highway, Berkeley, CA 94710.

 

            “These are tragic events that seriously affect the lives of families, friends and co-workers,” said Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild.  “The families need help and support to get them through this difficult period.  They have suffered life-altering tragedies.  I hope everybody will be generous in support of this effort to help these families in need.”

 

 

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Contact:  Jockeys’ Guild, Inc. 

                (859) 305-0606              




October 19, 2010

 

 

JOCKEYS’ GUILD FILES FOR TEMPORARY

RESTRAINING ORDER IN KENTUCKY

 

            The Jockeys’ Guild has filed a motion in Franklin Circuit Court in Frankfort, Kentucky for a temporary restraining order and an expedited hearing to prevent the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s (KHRC) from enforcing a state regulation regarding new specifications on safety vests and requiring full disclosure of all terms of sponsorship agreements as it pertains to jockey advertising.  The rule was implemented by the KHRC as an “emergency regulation” and went into effect June 15, 2010. 

 

Safety is and will continue to be the main concern of the Guild.  However, no emergency exists to require the regulation’s implementation as an “emergency regulation”.   The discussion pertaining to the improvement of the standards for safety vest has been going on for over two years, but there is not sufficient data to determine if the standards required by the emergency regulation are the safest standards.  The implementation of the regulation as an emergency did not allow for the parties affected by the regulation to adequate inspect the new vest in order to guarantee a proper fit and sufficient protection for their particular position on the racetrack.  Therefore, people were required to purchase without enough time.   

           

            At the International Conference on Jockey Safety held in Dubai recently, information was received that raised questions concerning the safety of certain vests which are approved in the emergency regulation.  High temperatures, including average body temperatures that are reached when the vests are worn for a prolonged period of time or during exercise, decrease the safety qualities below that of older models.

 

With regards to the emergency regulation pertaining to the Jockey advertising, in 2004, the court held the Kentucky Racing Authority acted beyond their scope of enacting an emergency regulation as it pertained to jockey advertising and the enforcement of such regulation was enjoined (Rose, et al v. KentuckyHorse Racing Authority, et al).

 

The emergency regulation stipulates that jockeys must provide full disclosure of the terms, including financial, of any sponsorship agreement to the KHRC thereby making such terms public.  Such a requirement hinders negotiations with potential sponsors for the Breeders’ Cup to be held November 5th and 6th at Churchill Downs.  Even though the language requiring jockeys to provide such information was redacted by the KHRC from the final regulation on October 11, 2010, the jockeys still must comply with the language from the emergency rule which remains in effect until January 14, 2011.

 

Tom Kennedy, General Counsel of the Guild, stated that “It is unfortunate that the KHRC is forcing Kentucky riders in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup to comply with an unreasonable requirement that the KHRC admits will not be part of the final regulation”.

 

Additionally, the regulation assumes an advertising opportunity is limited to one race.  Jockeys in other states have entered into long-term advertising agreements.  It would be impossible to determine the compensation for one particular race.  Any rule on jockey advertising in Kentucky should exempt contracts that are for multiple races.

           

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Contact:  Jockeys’ Guild, Inc.  (859) 305-0606              

PDJF

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1.   Javier Castellano $19,845,832
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4.   John Velazquez $12,943,254
5.   Jose L. Ortiz $11,434,974
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9.   Ramon Sanchez 66
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