Trainers unhappy with soaring workers' compensation insurance costs refused to enter any horses for the July 3 races at Hollywood Park following a 90-minute meeting with Southern California racing association officials June 29.
California horsemen and racetracks could create a workers' compensation insurance fund with purse money diverted from marketing programs as well as their vanning and stabling program under legislation headed for the state Senate.
California racing officials have shelved plans to seek an increase in the percentage of money taken out of their betting pools to help defray increasing worker' compensation costs.
California racing officials pondering what to do about a building workers' compensation insurance crisis are closer to submitting legislation that would increase pari-mutuel takeout in the state.
Representatives from the California Thoroughbred industry have scheduled an April 10 meeting at Santa Anita Park to discuss a proposal that would increase pari-mutuel takeout to help pay for spiraling workers' compensation insurance rates.
The general manager of California's only Standardbred racing association said it's unfair for harness horsemen to be lumped into the same workers' compensation insurance category as those who race Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses. He called the premiums "outrageous" and said the state needs to take action.
Despite a workers' compensation crisis, California trainers continued to enter horses for weekend programs in the state. But officials are concerned about the ramifications if the situation isn't resolved soon.
Given the state's mandate that trainers at racetracks must carry current workmens' compensation policies, horsemen whose policies expire March 1 were scrambling to find alternatives this week. The crisis threatens to force some trainers out of the business.
Various industry groups continue to work together to alleviate the workers' compensation crisis in California. Current contracts held by about 300 trainers in the state were set to expire March 1.
California horsemen could be facing a hefty increase in the amount they pay toward workers' compensation insurance if they are unable to reach an agreement with a new high-risk policy carrier by the time contracts expire with their current representative March 1.
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