Dwight Manley Jockeys' Guild Manager
Thursday April 5, 2007 at Noon (ET)
Editor's Note: If you previously submitted a question for Dwight Manley, there is no need to resubmit that query, as all questions were saved and will be included in the considerations for this week's discussion.
Sports agent, real estate developer, rare coin expert and skilled negotiator, Dwight Manley was named in July 2006 the National Manager of the Jockeys' Guild, a union representing more than 1,100 of the nation's horse racing jockeys. On only his third day on the job, Manley successfully resolved to the satisfaction of all parties a year-long dispute involving a gravely injured jockey. As President of United Sports Agency, Newport Beach, California, he represented such prominent National Basketball Association players such as Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman. Advertising Age magazine named him to the prestigious "Marketing 100" list for his skillful work on behalf of former client Rodman. He has served as a consultant to the Federal Trade Commission and Internal Revenue Service, and a U.S. Justice Department expert witness on numismatic issues.
Manley Investment Management Company (MIMCO) is overseeing the development of a multi-use complex of commercial and residential property in downtown Brea, California; a project that is a combination of business and personal satisfaction at helping his boyhood hometown. He also is a principal investor in the Grand Havana Room, a nightclub opening soon in Moscow, Russia. Earlier, he was an original private investor in Exclusive Resorts with the world's largest timeshare vacation company, and later sold his interest to Steve Case.
An active benefactor of numerous local and national charities, he led a successful $175,000 fund-raising campaign in 2004 to equip all Brea and Newport Beach Police Department and service vehicles with portable defibrillators to assist cardiac arrest victims. Manley and Malone personally donated over $120,000 for the purchase of the automated external defibrillator (AED) units.
A member of the Governor's committee that helped select the design for the 2005 California state quarter-dollar, Manley started collecting coins at the age of six when he was given a 1909 Lincoln cent. Over the years he has owned some of the world's most famous and valuable rare coins including one of the five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels; one of the dozen known 1984 San Francisco Mint dimes; and the historic King of Siam (now Thailand) on behalf of President Andrew Jackson in 1836.
In 1999 he made the world's largest numismatic purchase by acquiring more than $100,000,000 of California Gold Rush-era sunken treasure recovered from the legendary 1857 voyage of the SS Central America, the fabled "Ship of Gold." As Managing Partner of California Gold Marketing Group, LLC of Newport Beach, California, Manley successfully completed nearly two years of complex negotiations to buy the ship's famous cargo of historic coins and gold assayers' bars. The 32,000-member American Numismatic Association named its library in Colorado Springs, Colorado the Dwight N. Manley Library in recognition of this generous financial support for the nonprofit, educational organization.
He is the proud father of Victoria, 8, and Quentin, 6, and actively involved in their Harbor Day School affairs.
Albany, New York:
Speaking as an owner of modest horses and their accomplishments, I respect the riders who put themselves at risk as part of their job. With the passing of Barbaro, it is amazing to watch the momentum build for donations and fund raising for horse health (which obviously is important), whereas the industry has largely had a deaf ear to similar calls to raise funds to support injured jockeys. Has the Guild been doing enough to keep the plight of these human beings in the spotlight? (By the way, I know of one owner who donated $5,000 to the permanently disabled jockeys fund last year who never received a thank you from the Guild. What's worse, I read all these releases saying that owner contributions to the fund were essentially non-existent and we should be ashamed. I am sure there are other owners like this one that would like to continue to contribute.) I hope you are very successful in your stewardship of the guild.
First: Thank You to your friend! The Guild does not oversee the PDJF. We provide manpower to ask people to contribute their portions that were put together before I arrived. The simple fact is most horsemen have refused to contribute in supposed retaliation for the Guild being supportive of the Whitfield bill. I will tell you what I told them: I'm more than happy to take care of our business privately so the federal government doesn't have to, but they will not do so. Maybe you can write to your leadership and say "enough is enough."
In the days leading up to your association with the Jockeys' Guild, it was suggested that you and/or Mr. [Jesse] Jackson would like to unionize the backstretch and stables workforce (exercise riders, grooms, and so forth). Did you then or do you now endorse this idea? Have you considered the economic consequences of this? Will you pursue this in the future? How would you defend this proposition in the light of the already nearly impossible economics of the modern racing industry?
The actual objective was to help them get insurance and protection. The Whitfield bill would do that, as it is for all on track workers, not just jockeys. I feel that would be most efficient in helping them.
Hello, Mr. Manley. Hope all is well with you. I was watching European soccer w/ a friend the other day, and he mentioned how the players are highly marketed, much like our NBA players. It made me wonder... why aren't jockeys bigger stars in the racing industry, and what steps are being taken to promote their marketability? I think jockeys have some of the greatest potential to draw fans into the sport, yet they remain practically unrecognized as professional athletes. Even back in the '60s and '70s we had better marketability, with jocks like Stevie Cauthen and Bill Shoemaker on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Is there a single party we can blame for the lack of popularity (i.e. tracks, horseman's groups, jocks themselves, etc)? Why has it changed in recent years - and again, what's being done to improve it? Thanks for your time.
I am working on same ideas with Churchill to address that very fact. Unfortunately, until things develop further, I can't explain further.
Charles Town, West Virginia:
The Jockeys' Guild is supporting a rider who lost a winner's share due to a trainer's bad test. If a rider is taken down for reckless riding, would an owner have a right to sue the rider for the winner's share of the purse?
Illegally drugging a horse before a race is premeditated violation. Being aggressive during a race is not premeditated. Your point is interesting. But the clear truth is that one is done in secret, the other for all to see.
Thanks for sharing some time with us. Could you shed some light on jockey fees? Is there a standard fee that jockeys receive for race riding, or does each racing jurisdiction have their own set of riding fees?
Each jurisdiction has the ability to set rates. Mount fees were last raised in 1999, nationally a grand sum of $5.00!!! This is a very important issue to us, as all costs vis-a-vis insurance, tack, gasoline, etc have raised dramatically (in same cases 200%) In that same time.
New York, NY:
Dwight, good luck with the Guild. I'm curious as to whatever became of [Dr. Wayne] Gertmenian and his cronies. Is the Guild still pursuing a legal remedy to what seemed a blatantly criminal act?
There currently are legal proceedings pending in California. It's a fluid situation, with trial dates later this year. Thank you for your support.
Saddle Brook, NJ:
I once asked a retired jockey what he thought about the weight debate. He said he never raced at a track where there was a shortage of riders. What's your opinion?
One issue would be the quality of riders. To advance the sport it is in no ones interest to have "willing" riders that aren't as skilled as others. Also, the weight limits were set long, long ago. Through natural evolution, man has grown, yet these limits are stuck in the past
Who owns the rights to the images of the horses for broadcasting? If it is the horseman, then who owns the rights to use the jockeys' names?
During the race, the track owns it and shares revenue with horsemen through the interstate horse racing act of 1978. Jockeys are not mentioned in it, thus don't share. We are working on changing that.
Newport Beach, CA:
With no background in the Thoroughbred industry and with no prior industry experience, what made you interested in the position you now hold?
A friend of mine and former neighbor -- Mike Bello -- came to me last year and asked if I would be interested in helping out the Guild and the jockeys by becoming their national manager and giving them some leadership and guidance. Having no experience within this industry in certain situations is a negative, that I’ve overcome with tremendous support from Guild staff and former jockeys. On the other hand, the lack of experience in the horse industry has been very helpful vis-a-vis I have no personal axes to grind or history with past disputes. The fact that I was able to resolve the Gary Birzer lawsuits and the Churchill litigation is evidence of that.
How are you attempting to maintain balance and direction within a Guild in which you have the majority of its members who are lucky to make $25,000 a year being grouped with well-established multi-millionaire riders on many basic issues such as insurance, marketing, etc.?
The history of the Guild has been that the more successful riders help subsidize the less successful. The fact that dues are based on total mounts is one example of that. As far as future marketing plans, some of the concepts forward we’re working on have individual benefits for the stars and collective benefits for all Guild members built in.
How do you go about sending a donation?
Make out check to the Permanently Disabled Jockey’s Fund, which the Guild does not administer, and forward the check to the Guild and we will pass it on to the PDJF. The mailing address is PO Box 150, Monrovia,. CA 91017. Thank you
East Saticoy, CA:
Do you ever think that we'll see a day where a jockey is as marketable as a top golf, tennis, or team sport professional athlete?
Yes. In fact, in the 1940s, jockeys were the highest paid athletes in the world. I believe if the right jockey wins the Triple Crown and has a lot of charisma, he could become an international superstar.
Thanks for taking questions, Mr. Manley. As an aside, I bought a gold bar from the SS Central America from your company. As a racehorse owner, I took offense to your entrance into the "fray". I appreciate what you are attempting to do for jockeys, but why come with guns blazing, blaming owners for the shortfalls faced by jockeys today. In the spirit of partnership, shouldn't you have tackled the corruption within the organization first, before casting stones? As an owner, I too want to see full protection for all jockeys. I would be willing to chip in, even though the cost of ownership is an incredible burden. Why start this discussion by blaming us, the life blood of the industry?
First, congratulations on your ingot purchase. As far as the jockeys; a little background. I have reached out in person and by telephone to the leadership of major horsemen’s groups and have been essentially told “things aren’t really going to change.” The horsemen’s groups have said that, until the Whitfield bill is taken off the table, they don’t want to contribute to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund, thus making a non-guild group punished and used as a pawn for their own interests.
These permanently disabled riders rode for owners and trainers at tracks around the country and lost their lives and/or careers on behalf of the entire industry. It is that reason that the ENTIRE industry is responsible for taking care of its own. It is despicable that any group would turn their back on these unfortunate few.
As far as the Guild’s integrity, I have replaced several people and created a much more efficient organization. We are still involved in litigation with past management, and whatever the outcome is, that will be the last of the old business on my watch, and we can hopefully all focus on the future.
In light of the death of a 16-year-old jockey last year, has there been any discussion of raising the minimum age requirements for riding in races?
Not presently, but it is something that will be looked at in the future.
What is your number one priority in fixing the mess made by previous management of the Guild?
The number one priority was lending money to the Guild so it could pay its bills.
In the last Talkin' Horses Chat, jockey Jose Santos fielded several questions from Spanish speakers. While ESPN is under contract with the Breeders' Cup through 2013, there is now no daily horse racing content on its Spanish-language website, ESPN DEPORTES. There is also likely very little Spanish-language horse racing content on ESPN DEPORTES TV and radio. Rather than view Spanish as an obstacle to marketing the sport and its stars, I would view it as an opportunity. If given the opportunity, would the Jockeys' Guild urge ESPN, NTRA and the Breeders' Cup to change that?
That is a good point. In fact, I have just added to the Guild’s Web site, which was completely re-engineered under my management, to be 100% available in Spanish. Feel free to log on at http://www.jockeysguild.com and let me know what you think.
Is there any reason the jockeys cannot give 10% of their share of graded stakes wins to the Disabled Jockeys' Fund?
Most of the jockeys do donate personally and, in fact, Edgar Prado has donated a saddle worn by Barbaro -- an item that should yield the largest single donation ever to the PDJF. In fact, I know of no industry where the employees pay for their on-the-job insurance.
Fair Hill, MD:
How does the Guild see jockeys, as employees or as independent contractors? It seems to me that the guild likes to be both when it benefits them. Please help with this confusion.
My personal belief is that t he jockeys are employees. Court rulings in the past have split on this issue. The problem stems from all of the individual states having individual rules. It is very unusual for a national industry to not have federal guidelines but that is what we have here.
With owners running for purses that are half the amount of their investment, how can you justify an increase in Jock fees?
Where do I begin. First, in the last eight years alone the cost for gasoline, hay, training, transportation, insurance, rent and just plain milk have all gone up dramatically, in some cases 300%. The jockey has had his mount fee raised 0% over those eight years. The average cost to maintain a horse is $30,000 per year. That horse runs 6.8 times per year on average. At $45 per mount, that is $306, or 1%, of that annual cost. Could you please ME, what industry operates its investment for a 1% fee?
Also, horses run for purses, but more importantly they create stud and breeding value. The money received from breeding surpasses the prize money. So if you are going to use that argument, you must include all of the revenue, not just a select portion.
For many people, horse racing is a hobby. Skiing is a hobby. Traveling is a hobby. Collecting wine is a hobby. These and hundreds more return no “purse money” to an individual, yet bring great satisfaction. In horse racing, the purse money be secondary to an owner but it is vital and critical to a jockey’s health and welfare and that of his family.
It has been more than nine months since you were elected by the Guild Board as National Manager. What has been accomplished for the jockeys during your tenure?
Go to the Jockeys’ Guild Web site at http://www.jockeysguild.com,and you can see our accomplishments. There are too many to list here.
Apple Valley, CA:
Years ago the Jockey's Guild had a small magazine that they issued every few months called the Jockey News. It was a great way for people in the industry and fans to stay current on things going on with jockeys all over the country. Any chance of the Guild publishing something like this again in the near future?
Please feel free to go to our Web site, http://www.jockeysguild.com, which is free, and enjoy the information and updates that are available daily.
What is the status of the federal legislation that would amend the Interstate Horseracing Act to provide funds for insurance for jockeys and backstretch workers?
This bill’s creation precedes my arrival at the Guild. Historically, the federal government’s involvement only arises when industries can resolve issues on their own. I would welcome an opportunity to have meaningful discussions and resolve a lot of these issues regarding the horse industry.
I believe the jockeys fees are distributed wrong. I think unplaced jocks aren't paid enough, but the winners, esp. in stakes, paid too much. Why should a jock in a $500,000 race get the same amount as the trainer, who has done a lot more with the horse than the jock? Any thought to changing that, with no increase to the owners?
First, trainers aren’t paralyzed or dying while winning races. Second, the health risks are far greater to a jockey than to a trainer. And third, the career span for a jockey is much shorter than for a trainer. It would similar to saying the coach of a sports team should make the same amount as its superstar.
Seirra Madre, CA:
I have a $600 medical bill that the Guild was supposed to pay in the end of 2004. It went unpaid until I paid it last month. I have contacted the Guild at least six times about this matter and have gotten no response. I think this is pretty shameful after my husband served as president of the Jockeys’ Guild for two terms. I don’t understand what the money being paid for insurance is for if it isn’t paying the jockeys' and their families' medical bills?
Please send me a copy of the bill. I will personally see that it is paid. This is the first I have heard of this. I am sure there are other things that need cleanly up around the Guild, but let me assure we have made huge strides in these areas.
Coconut Creek, FL:
My name is Gary Donahue I have a plan to raise money to help the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. The plan is to ask the jockeys who are Guild members to contribute the fees from two to four losing horse mounts per month. Just until more money has been raised. If this plan was to work $60,000 to $80,000 a month could be raised to help the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund.
Please look at the other answer earlier in which I said we do not believe employees should have to pay their insurance. To ask the jockeys to pay for something in the face of no wage increase in eight years doesn’t’ work.
New York, NY:
How about taking 1% of purse payouts to owners, trainers and jockeys and fund an insurance policy for Jockeys who suffer catastrophic injuries as a result of a racing accident?
Part of my agenda is to re-establish an excess insurance policy just for that purpose. The Guild is not in a position at this time to fund that. Hopefully, in 2008 we will. The current policies of $500,000 and $1 million are not enough to cover the expenses of Gary Birzer, for example, a quadriplegic jockey.
New York, NY:
Is the Jockeys' Guild insolvent? Has there been any new revenue generated for the Jockeys' Guild during your nine months as national manager?
The Guild is surviving and paying its bills. We have cut expenses and the settlement with Churchill has increased revenue. Unfortunately, legal and professional fees that resulted from the past management’s actions dug a deep hole for us to dig out of, but are better off today than when I took over.
Is the Jockeys' Guild working on any projects that would provide a revenue stream for the organization? Any marketing or licensing initiatives?
We have developed several concepts in those areas, but implementing them is the second part of a two-step process. The first of which is to stabilize and solidify the Guild and its membership.
LAST UPDATED: 1:15 PM (ET)
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