Gulfstream Hikes On-Track Insurance Coverage

Gulfstream Park has increased its on-track medical insurance for jockeys from $100,000 to $500,000 through the end of its current meet, which concludes April 24.

The Hallandale, Fla., racetrack confirmed the move with a press release issued late in the afternoon of Feb. 2. Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns Gulfstream, also increased on-track medical insurance to $500,000 for three days of its Breeders' Cup meet last year at Lone Star Park.

With the exception of tracks in California, Idaho, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York, which offer workers' compensation insurance, tracks offer up to $100,000 in on-track medical insurance coverage. The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority moved Feb. 2 to make recommendations for workers' compensation legislation for jockeys and exercise riders, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Jockey Insurance Working Panel continues to seek a broad solution for the industry.

Should an industry-wide plan be enacted prior to the end of the Gulfstream meet, that program would supersede the interim change announced by the track.

"Gulfstream looks forward to an industry-wide solution to this issue," Gulfstream president Scott Savin said in the release. "In the interim, it was felt that this step was appropriate as a temporary measure under the circumstances."

On Jan. 30 at Gulfstream, jockey Gary Boulanger was injured in a spill. He underwent surgery to remove his spleen and a blood clot on his brain. His condition was upgraded Feb. 1 from critical to serious.

"Our thoughts are with Gary Boulanger and his family at this time and, like everyone in horse racing, we send them our best wishes for his full and speedy recovery," said NTRA executive Keith Chamblin, who chairs the jockeys' insurance panel. "Gary's accident underscores the need for the industry to find an expedited solution to the issues surrounding jockey catastrophic accident insurance coverage.

"A subcommittee of the NTRA Jockey Insurance Working Panel has been working continuously since early December. The subcommittee has identified insurance coverage and is close to finalizing information and details on a program that can be adopted by industry organizations."

The working panel first met in late November 2004 at Turfway Park.