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National HBPA Acts on Rule for Mount Fees

The National HBPA opposes a model rule on jockey mount fees.

The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Executive Committee voted Dec. 6 to endorse a presentation on jockey mount fees president Joe Santanna will make Dec. 8 during the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing & Gaming.

The National HBPA, meeting in Tucson, has concerns with a model rule calling for increases in jockey mount fees. Representatives met with the Association of Racing Commissioners International Model Rules Committee Dec. 5 in Tucson to discuss their opposition.

“I think we have the ears of the Model Rules Committee,” National HBPA chief executive officer Remi Bellocq said.

Various racetracks around the country have increased jockey mount fees, but some not without opposition from horsemen who believe it can hurt owners and trainers at a time when purses are declining. Arkansas HBPA president Bill Walmsley said he addressed the Arkansas Racing Commission Dec. 1 in opposition to a hike in mount fees at Oaklawn Park, but the commission approved the plan supported by the Jockeys’ Guild.

Santanna’s presentation is said to deal with industry finances and alternatives. Horsemen’s representatives said Thoroughbred racing is losing owners, and taking more money out of purses isn’t the answer.

Lynne Schuller, executive director of the Nebraska HBPA, noted racing dates are being reduced in Nebraska in 2010 in order to maintain purses. Blanket model rules, she said, don’t take into account financial hardships in various jurisdictions.

The National HBPA also is working with RCI on changes to a proposed model rule governing pre-race testing, Bellocq said.