Jockeys' Guild Seeks KY Legislative Support

Asks governor, state's lawmakers to be included in all proposed equine legislation.

The Jockeys’ Guild has sent letters to Gov. Steve Beshear and all members of the Kentucky General Assembly, asking that jockeys not be forgotten when the legislature considers any changes in the laws concerning the equine industry, especially horse racing.

In the letter, Jockeys’ Guild National Manager Terry Meyocks tells lawmakers that in 2010 nearly one in five jockeys was injured and temporarily disabled on the job and asks that the indispensible role of jockeys be considered.

“Since Kentucky is the horse racing capital of the world, it is imperative that the Commonwealth take the lead in promoting the best interests of the entire horse industry: owners, breeders, trainers, horsemen, affiliated businesses, jockeys and fans,” Meyocks said.

The Guild expects corporate pressure on legislators to expand gaming in the Commonwealth. While not taking a position on the issue of expanded gaming itself, the letter informs legislators about the dispute the Guild currently has with Churchill Downs Inc.

The letter states, “During the very period for which CDI recently announced record revenue and profits, CDI declared it was not renewing a longstanding agreement to help the Jockeys’ Guild provide temporary disability, life insurance, AD&D and other benefits for active jockeys, nor was it willing to help the Guild continue to provide assistance to currently disabled riders. This was done unilaterally and without any good faith attempt to negotiate…the company’s move poses an immediate threat to overall jockey health and safety.

The California Horse Racing Board recently expressed its concern over CDI’s actions by deferring renewal of CDI’s advanced deposit wagering license in California. In announcing the deferral, CHRB chairman Keith Brackpool said, “This board…will do whatever it can to protect the welfare, safety and well-being of jockeys… If that means we look to good corporate citizenship as one of the tests, then that’s one of the tests we’re eventually going to look to.”

The Illinois Racing Board also has delayed approval of CDI’s ADW license for the same reason. Both states have asked CDI to explain its actions.