The Jockeys' Guild wrapped up its annual assembly Dec. 7 with the announcement that the contract of Matrix Capital Associates, headed by Dr. Wayne Gertmenian, has been extended through 2009. In addition, jockey Kent Desormeaux, who has said he was conducting due diligence into Guild business practices, failed to win re-election to the Guild senate and no longer sits on the executive committee.
As the Jockeys' Guild prepares for its annual meeting in Irving, Texas, Dec. 6-7, organization management is under increasing fire from the racing industry and some of its own members. Still, the Guild appears poised to make a case for solidarity, and it remains to be seen whether substantial change will come about during the two-day meeting.
Recent reports that jockeys in many states don't have sufficient benefits to cover costs of catastrophic injuries sustained in riding accidents prompted some pointed remarks to a Jockey's Guild representative during the California Horse Racing Board Dec. 2 meeting at Hollywood Park.
A claim filed by jockey Shane Sellers with the National Labor Relations Board in connection with his removal from Churchill Downs Nov. 7 has been withdrawn, an NLRB official confirmed Dec. 2.
The former national manager of the Jockeys' Guild, ousted in 2001 in what he said was akin to a "terrorist attack," believes disabled riders are the real victims in the ongoing conflict over finances and the impending discontinuance of the Disabled Jockeys' Fund. He called on jockeys to take control of the situation.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Jockeys' Medical Insurance Panel has identified several consensus points and hopes to have recommendations in place by Dec. 31, officials said after the panel's first meeting Nov. 22 at Turfway Park in Kentucky.
A top official with the Jockeys' Guild has questioned the purpose of a new task force on insurance and indicated a resolution wouldn't be reached until the industry recognizes it must deal with Dr. Wayne Gertmenian, president and chief executive officer of the Guild.
As two more winter Thoroughbred meets prepare to open, management is lining up commitments from jockeys in the wake of walkouts at Churchill Downs and Hoosier Park. Meanwhile, members of an insurance task force that will meet for the first time Nov. 22 hope to maintain focus and expedite recommendations.
It is an issue covered nearly daily in the news and business columns of newspapers across America. Kentucky schoolteachers recently threatened a walkout over it; grocery workers in California struck for months because of it. Workers and employers everywhere struggle to make ends meet while having to feed its spiraling costs. Health insurance, along with health care costs, could be the single most important issue facing this nation, and it is one that jockeys and the racing industry have been struggling with for decades.
- By Ray Paulick
Ray Paulick - David Guillory has never watched a replay of the race that ended his riding career. He's never wanted to. Guillory remembers turning into the stretch, seeing a horse just in front veering in on him, and yelling at the horse's rider. He doesn't recall what happened next, but he doesn't need to see a videotape to remind him.
John W. Greathouse Jr. - The jockeys at Churchill Downs and Hoosier Park who recently chose to sit out the meet over insurance issues have made a grievous mistake. And don't think for one second that the trainers and owners will soon forget what these riders did.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association working group on insurance, members of which were named Nov. 16, will hold its first meeting Nov. 22.
With seven weeks remaining in the calendar and racing year, jockey John Velazquez is well ahead of Edgar Prado and Jerry Bailey in the race to be leading rider by earnings.
Hoosier Park in Indiana lost its entire 12-race card the evening of Nov. 12 after all but a few members of the jockey colony refused to ride. The jockeys are protesting over what they believe is a lack of adequate medical insurance, and they also called on the track to install a safety rail.
Two Kentucky legislators with ties to the horse racing industry indicated Nov. 10 that any effort get workers' compensation insurance for jockeys through the state General Assembly would take plenty of homework and perhaps a lot of time.
Several jockeys earned bonsuses this summer under the Oregon Racing Commission's jockey incentive program, which is designed to encourage riders to participate at fair meets in the state.
Despite the absence of 15 riders who were ejected from Churchill Downs for refusal to commit to mounts on the Wednesday and Thursday race cards in a dispute over insurance, jockeys have been named to ride horses entered for those two days, according to a statement from the track.
The Jockeys' Guild, in the wake of the ejection of 15 riders by Churchill Downs, has targeted the racetrack and the state of Kentucky in a rapidly developing conflict over what the Guild believes is inadequate medical insurance in many racing states.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Monday it will form a working group to look into the issue of jockey medical insurance coverage. The panel will be chaired by the NTRA's Terry Meyocks.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association has formed a working group to study the issue of medical insurance for jockeys.
The conflict over adequate medical insurance for jockeys continued to escalate Nov. 7 when Churchill Downs escorted several riders from the grounds after they refused to accept mounts for the Nov. 11 program.
The International Jockey Championship had a distinctive Texas flavor Oct. 28 when Dallas native Jerry Bailey sealed the title aboard Promise Of War in the third and final series event for owner Keith Asmussen and trainer Steve Asmussen of the Lone Star state.
Jockey Richard Migliore is bound for the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships despite suffering a scare to his surgically held together arm during an Oct. 28 spill at Belmont Park.
Nine of the top jockeys in the world are set to square off Oct. 28 in the International Jockey Championship at Lone Star Park.
As concern over the amount of medical insurance for jockeys at most racetracks continues to grow, Breeders' Cup and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Oct. 22 that it has arranged for increase coverage at Lone Star Park Oct. 28-30.
The insurance policy for jockeys at Arlington Park covered all of jockey Gary Stevens' expenses after he was injured in a fall at the wire in last year's Arlington Million (gr. IT).
Tanned from a recent trip home to Puerto Rico and relaxed from a summer away from the New York limelight, Norberto Arroyo Jr made his return to Belmont Park a winning one Oct. 16. He has set his sights on winning the riding title at the Aqueduct winter meet.
The newest face in the Belmont Park jockeys' room Oct. 17 also was the oldest. At 51, Jose Amy made his return to the New York jockey colony after more than 24 years during which he was banished for his involvement in a 1970s race-fixing scandal.
Jockey Jerry Bailey, who has been sidelined since early September due to a fractured left wrist, expects to ride competitively again on Oct. 13 at the Keeneland meet in Lexington, Ky.
A controversial plan to increase the scale of weights for Thoroughbreds racing in California has been delayed until at least Dec. 2. But an attorney for the Jockeys' Guild, which is pushing the proposal, said riders remain determined to see it adopted.
Jockeys in Indiana have been granted permission by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission to display the Jockeys' Guild patch on their riding pants, but corporate advertising won't be permitted.
A benefit board has been established to oversee the Delaware Jockey's Health and Welfare Fund. Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner signed the bill into law Aug. 23.
The nation's top three horse racing companies have teamed to study the current jockey scale of weights and make recommendations on potential national reforms to the Jockeys' Guild, horsemen's groups, racing associations and racing regulators.
Jockey John Velazquez notched his 3,000th career victory in the second race of Thursday's card at Saratoga Race Course.
Veteran Illinois-based jockey Ray Sibille, whose career has spanned 3 1/2 decades, said he's retiring July 21 after the fifth race at Arlington Park.
A series of rules designed to change the longstanding scale of weights for jockeys in California has been posted by the state horse racing board for the legislatively mandated 45-day public comment period.
Jockey Terry Thompson suffered a broken leg June 29 during a three-horse spill in the second race at Prairie Meadows.
Patricia Cooksey, Aaron Gryder, Edgar Prado and John Velazquez have been named as the finalists for the 2004 Mike Venezia Memorial Award. The Venezia Award was instituted by the New York Racing Association to honor riders who "exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship." Venezia was killed in a tragic spill at Belmont Park on Oct. 13, 1988.
The California Horse Racing Board Tuesday suspended jockey Patrick Valenzuela for four months, with three months' credit for time served, and ordered the rider to serve out his remaining 30 days during the month of June.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, currently studying its controversial helmet rule for jockeys, indicated May 17 it doesn't expect to have a resolution anytime soon.
Kerwin "Boo Boo" Clark recorded his 2,000th career winner May 6 when he won the sixth race at Evangeline Downs aboard Golden Rail.
Jockey Diane Nelson, who began riding in New York in the 1980s, is back in action after an injury last fall at Belmont Park left her on the shelf for the winter.
The Southern California jockey colony April 22 expressed its displeasure with the April 16 decision by California Horse Racing Board chairman John Harris to grant jockey Patrick Valenzuela a stay of his recent suspension that allows him to ride while he appeals the termination of his conditional license.
Lone Star Park has moved the Jockey Championship from June to October, so this year the event will serve as a lead-in to the Breeders' Cup.
The Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, in conjunction with its annual dinner dance, will hold a silent auction March 15 to benefit the "Michael Rowland Family Fund." Rowland, a longtime jockey, died as a result of injuries suffered in a racing accident at Turfway Park in early February.
After having reviewed film of the Feb. 12 incident at Laurel Park involving Rogue Agent and Evening Attire in the John B. Campbell Handicap, the Laurel
stewards suspended Norberto Arroyo Jr., rider of Rogue Agent, for 15 days.
A Valentine's Day fund-raiser for the family of jockey Michael Rowland, who died from injuries sustained in a Feb. 5 racing accident at Turfway Park, has drawn interest from around the country, and donated items continued to come in the morning of the event.
Following on its popular series "10 Hardest Things to do in Sports" last year (hitting a baseball ranked first), USA Today has undertaken to rank the "10 Toughest Athletes." In the series that began with Monday's edition of the national newspaper, jockey Julie Krone was featured as the "10th toughest athlete."
A three-horse spill triggered by a fallen horse left three jockeys injured in the seventh race the evening of Feb. 4 at Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky. The final two races of the program were canceled.
The issue of how jockeys are paid surfaced during the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association winter convention in New Orleans, and apparently it has created some conflict in some racing jurisdictions around the country.
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