Guild Agrees to Not Boycott Churchill Tracks

Officials of Churchill Downs Inc. announced Wednesday the company has withdrawn its motion for a preliminary injunction against the Jockeys' Guild after the two parties agreed to an order that member jockeys would not boycott races at CDI-owned tracks.

Churchill had asked the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Kentucky to issue an injunction ensuring the Jockeys' Guild did not organize a boycott that would affect the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

The request came a month after CDI sued the Guild, claiming the jockeys' organization violated federal antitrust laws by directing jockeys to walk out last November at two CDI-owned tracks, Churchill Downs and Hoosier Park. A trial date for the case has not been set.

At issue was the on-track accident coverage provided by tracks for jockeys. Since then, Kentucky tracks have agreed to raise their coverage from $100,000 to $1 million.

Under the order, signed by Judge John Heyburn, the Jockeys' Guild may not "instruct its directors, senators, officers, employees, and member representatives to not engage in an activity that could directly or indirectly encourage, suggest or advise jockeys, who are independent contractors, to refuse to provide jockey services at Thoroughbred racetracks operated by CDI, or interfere with the Company and its business operations.

"Churchill Downs Inc. was prepared to seek a preliminary injunction prior to our case going to trial and prior to the opening of our spring Thoroughbred meets to ensure our operations, including the 131st Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and Kentucky Derby, would go forward without incident," Andrew G. Skehan, CDI's executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a release. "The joint stipulation and consent order now in place gives us that assurance as we prepare for the start of our 2005 Thoroughbred racing seasons at Arlington Park, Calder Race Course, Churchill Downs and Hollywood Park."