The New Mexico Racing Commission, at its meeting Nov. 18, approved an increase in base mount fees for jockeys starting with the opening of Sunland Park Dec. 10. The Jockeys’ Guild had previously attempted to reach an agreement with the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association, but was unable to do so.
The new mount fee schedule calls for a minimum mount fee of $58 ranging up to $113 depending on the purse of the race. Additionally, a separate jockey fee was added for the fourth-place finisher.
Previously, mount fees in New Mexico were scaled to $38 from $105. The new rule increases the riders mount fee scale for all races at New Mexico racetracks, including all races at Sunland Park, SunRay Park, The Downs at Albuquerque, Ruidoso Downs, and Zia Park.
“We really appreciate the support of commissioners Larry Delgado and Arnold Rael, who both took the time to meet jockeys, both Guild and non-Guild members, and the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association in attempt to reach an agreement, as well as commission chairman Marty Cope and the rest of the commission members for their time in facilitating the changes to the current scale,” said Mindy Coleman, counsel for the Jockeys’ Guild, in a release.
“We would also like to thank India Hatch (executive director of the New Mexico Racing Commission), Pat Bingham (executive director of the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association), the ad hoc committee established by the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association, as well as the jockeys, particularly G.R. Carter, Ken Tohill, and Casey Lambert, for their hard work in attempting to reach an agreement. It was just unfortunate that we were unable to do so. After almost two years of attempts, we were forced to seek the assistance of the commission to facilitate a new fee schedule.”
“We believe the New Mexico Racing Commission acted in the best interest of horse racing for the state of New Mexico,” said John Beech, regional manager for the Jockeys’ Guild, in a statement. “Just as we worked together to attain this goal, we look forward to working with the New Mexico Racing Commission and all parties involved for the betterment of racing in the state.”
This new scale follows increases in mount fees through legislation at California tracks and negotiated increases at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Saratoga, Finger Lakes, Monmouth, Meadowlands, Atlantic City, Hawthorne, Arlington Park, Fairmount Park, Gulfstream Park, Calder, Tampa Bay Downs, Tropical Park, Fair Grounds, Louisiana Downs, Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Turf Paradise, Yavapai Downs, Indiana Downs, Hoosier Park, Delaware Park, Charles Town, Mountaineer, Prairie Meadows, Oaklawn, Fair Meadows at Tulsa, Remington Park and Will Rogers Downs.
Jockeys at Philadelphia Park, Penn National, and Presque Isle have also received raises in their losing mount fees. Negotiations are ongoing in two other racing jurisdictions.