Short-Term Loans Available for Workers' Comp Payments

Financially strapped California Thoroughbred trainers will be able to borrow money to help them make their initial workers' compensation insurance payments due on July 1 under a plan approved by state racing

Funds from Southern California Off-Track Wagering Inc. will be made available for short-term loans that must be repaid within five months, said Ed Halpern, executive director of the California Thoroughbred Trainers.

Trainers are facing premium increases of more than 10% on average when the new policies from insurer American International Group go into effect. An initial payment amounting to 17.5% of the total annual premium is due July 1. They'll be able to borrow up to 7.5% percent of the annual amount, or about 43% of the first payment from SCOTWINC, Halpern said. A minimum down payment of $5,000 is required to be eligible, he said.

Halpern said he did not know how many trainers would be forced to use the loans, but that it provided an option for stables facing cutbacks in personnel or remaining in business.

"It's a business decision they'll have to make," Halpern said.