Track, Jockeys Clear Up Insurance Misunderstanding

A possible interruption of Saturday's live card at Philadelphia Park was averted Friday when management at the Bensalem Township, Pa., racetrack assured jockeys they are indeed covered by insurance should they be injured while performing the duties of their profession.

On July 10, jockey David Mello was hurt during the post parade at Philly Park, and, according to jockeys' spokesman Anthony Black, found that insurance wouldn't cover his bills for the hospital or ambulance ride to the hospital. Black said that, after calling the insurance company, he was told the jockeys were covered only if hurt during the running of a race, not in any other situation, including the post parade, paddock, or during morning exercise hours.

Black said the riders were never notified of the insurance coverage change, but after several phone calls and a July 21 meeting with management, he received verbal assurance the riders would be covered.

"We were prepared to exhaust every avenue with management to prevent a disruption of live racing," Black said, "but we couldn't allow something like this to continue."

Hal Handel, chief executive officer of Greenwood Racing, which owns Philly Park, said the issue has been resolved.

"The jockeys continue to have coverage for any mishaps taking place in connection with live racing and activities like post parades, paddock, walking ring, etc., before and after the race," Handel told The Blood-Horse. "(There is) no departure from past practice--some communication errors took place, and they have been corrected."