Churchill Downs Requests Answers from Guild

Churchill Downs president Steve Sexton has set a Dec. 7 deadline for the Jockeys' Guild to respond to a letter asking the organization to account for the $1.25 million its racetracks have given to the rider's organization over the past three years.

In a letter dated Dec. 1 and sent to Wayne Gertmenian, the Guild's president and chief executive since 2001, Churchill Downs is asking that the Guild's response be certified by an independent accountant.

The Churchill request comes on the eve of the Guild's annual meeting, which will be held Dec. 6-7 in Irving, Texas.

The letter reads, "CDI tracks contribute more than $375,000 annually to the Guild through per race day and per mount fees -- our share of the $2.2 million given to the Guild each year by North American racetracks. During your tenure as Guild president, racetracks have given the Guild more than $7 million to use at its discretion.

"Considering the amount of money given to the Guild each year by racetracks -- and through annual dues and per mount fees paid by your membership -- we are hoping you will explain why the Guild no longer purchases this additional on-track coverage.

"I am sure you will agree that it is in the best interest of the Guild, its members and the horse racing industry to answer these questions thoroughly and expeditiously, so that we, as an industry, can focus fully on finding ample insurance coverage for all jockeys."

A dispute over jockey's insurance at the Louisville, Ky. track last month led to 14 riders being banned and a one-night boycott at Churchill-owned Hoosier Park.

The dispute also led to the formation of a task force by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to study the insurance issue.

Recommendations from the task force are expected by the end of the year.