from the Jockeys' Guild
Jockeys at Fairmount Park received a mount-fee increase through the Illinois Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which represents horsemen at the track.
The riders have received a $10 increase to $55 for losing mount fees on purses under $10,000, which make up the majority of races run at the Collinsville, Ill., track. Jockeys will receive an extra $5 (for a total of $60) for finishing third in races in the same category.
The Illinois HBPA made a commitment at the start of the meet to keep purses at the $5,000 level or above.
“The jockeys at Fairmount Park were courteous and understanding of the horsemen’s concerns about the health of the industry at Fairmount Park,” Jockeys’ Guild regional manager Jeff Johnston said. “The fees are still outdated, but we want to work with the horsemen to better the industry in southern Illinois.”
The two other Illinois Thoroughbred tracks—Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course--recently instituted a scale that establishes the minimum fee at $80 and has increases in place for fourth- and fifth-place finishes.
Recent increases in mount fees were also put into effect at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Saratoga, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, Calder Race Course, Indiana Downs, and Hoosier Park. California increased fees last fall.
Discussions continue with many other racing jurisdictions. Jockeys at Philadelphia Park also received an increase in fees.
“I want to thank the HBPA board for their recognition that jockeys were due an increase, and chief steward Jeff Bowen for his help in reaching this agreement at a difficult time for racing in southern Illinois,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Guild. “We all need to work together to solve the problems which face our sport across the country, and the jockeys are committed to doing their part.”
Meyocks said the Guild hopes to implement a three-tiered scale for mount fees based on purses and other factors. One of the tier levels is comprised of tracks such as Fairmount that faces the most serious issues.