Anne M. Eberhardt

CHRB Amends Fee Scale for Losing Jockeys

Action would apply payment hike in races of less than $10,000 to second and third.

A 12.5% increase in the minimum riding fee scale for losing jockeys in California got an unexpected addition from the state's horse racing board Aug. 21.

Meeting at the Surfside Race Place simulcast facility at Del Mar, the California Horse Racing Board gave initial approval to extending the minimum jockey fee hike. The amended scale, which now undergoes a 45-day public comment period before it can be considered for final approval, would be applied to riders on all losing mounts for races carrying a purse of less than $10,000.

The increase in fee, part of a state Assembly bill that went into effect July 1, was originally intended to apply to riders of horses who finished out of the money. But the adjusted scale meant that jockeys who finished worse than third at the lowest purse levels would be making more than those riding horses who were second or third.

In races carrying a purse of $5,000 to $9,999, a losing mount rider earns an additional $9.38, going from $75 to $84.38. With the latest amendment to the scale, jockeys on a runner-up in such a race would be bumped to $101.25, while the third-place jockey gets $86.63.

The jockey riding fees are used when there is no contract or agreement in place between the trainer or owner and rider.

In other action, the commission approved separate license applications to conduct racing at the Big Fresno Fair Oct. 1-13, and at Golden Gate Fields for its fall meet from Oct. 16 through Dec. 21, to be operated for 36 days by the Pacific Racing Association .

The board also received a report from Dr. Rick Arthur, CHRB equine medical director, on the history of race-day administration of furosemide, a common diuretic drug also known as Lasix or Salix. The topic, currently part of a hot national debate on medication in racehorses, could get a closer look at a future committee or board meeting, commission chairman Chuck Winner indicated.

Also approved was a request from CHRB staff to allow limited delegating authority to the CHRB chairman or executive director Rick Baedeker to approve service contracts on the board's behalf.