The Jockeys’ Guild wants Churchill Downs Inc. to come to the table to discuss reinstatement of roughly $330,000 the racing and gaming company has paid annually to support insurance for jockeys.
CDI earlier this year said it wouldn’t renew an agreement with the Guild that will expire at the end of 2011.
The Guild, during a Nov. 4 press conference held in Louisville, Ky., in conjunction with the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, said 250 jockeys that have ridden at CDI-owned tracks signed a petition asking the company to reconsider. The petition will be presented to CDI the week of Nov. 6.
“We’re talking about $330,000 total for the four racetracks to renew their commitment,” Jockeys’ Guild national manager Terry Meyocks said. “Is the money that important to them, or is it more important to do the right thing?”
Julie Koenig Loignon, vice president of corporate communications for CDI, said Nov. 5 the company has no comment at this time. There is no public indication there will be negotiations.
Meanwhile, the Guild, during the week of the Breeders’ Cup, said it has signed renewal agreements with the New York Racing Association and The Stronach Group for continued financial support. The money is used for life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and temporary disability benefits for active Jockeys’ Guild members, as well as life insurance and aid to jockeys that are permanently disabled.
“The Stronach Group and the New York Racing Association have just renewed their commitment to jockeys, and it’s disappointing that CDI hasn’t chosen to do the same,” Meyocks said. “Tracks of all sizes contribute to the Guild. From the largest to the smallest, they all feel that helping jockeys is a worthy cause.
“We have been partners with CDI tracks for the better part of 40 years, and we just want that partnership to continue.”
Jockey Eibar Coa, seriously injured earlier this year in a riding accident and currently recovering, attended the Guild press conference with other disabled riders, including Ron Turcotte, who rode Secretariat to victory in the 1973 Triple Crown.
“After my injury, I was concerned about my recovery, my family, and my family’s future,” Coa said. “The Jockeys’ Guild temporary disability benefits were made possible by contributions made by jockeys and tracks in the past, including the CDI tracks.
“I ask the leadership and board of CDI to renew its commitment to the Guild for our future insurance needs.”