- New insurance woes for the Jockeys Guild were reported by Liz Mullen in Louisville Business First, via MSNBC.com. According to the article, the organization’s health insurance plan is in serious jeopardy, as jockeys are more than $700,000 in arrears on their premiums, at least as shown in documents dated March, 2005, and posted on the website of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation. Guild member Darrell Haire said "I don't know what the heck is going on here....It's very disturbing information I am hearing. I don't know what to believe anymore." This is a separate matter from the insurance for on-track accidents, the one that the Guild allowed to expire.
In addition, at least one jockey, Shane Sellers, said that he was specifically told by Guild VP Albert Hiss that he didn’t have to pay his premiums.
[Barry] Broad, a lobbyist who represents several labor unions, said it would be "serious misconduct" for any guild official to allow certain members not to pay medical premiums, as Sellers claimed occurred in his case.On Tuesday, the Guild senate will convene to consider Dr. G’s status. As Matt Hegarty reported the other day, his opponents will have to invoke some kind of nuclear option to dispose of him, changing the by-laws so that they can replace a board of directors that contains, incredibly, Gertmenian supporters. It’s hard to believe that anyone on the board would defend Dr. G, especially since, as reported by Ms. Mullen on August 8, he accused the board of being the ones responsible for the lapsing of the on-track insurance policy! Lobbyist Broad believes that the proposal to change the bylaws will easily pass. [Daily Racing Form]
"If that is true, that is very disturbing," he said. If guild officials forgave debts owed to the guild, "that is essentially giving away assets," Broad said. [MSNBC]
Hegarty can’t seem to get Dr. G on the phone, but Bloodhorse did, and he cooperated with some of his usual weird statements such as "I guess they'll destroy the leadership and start over. We came in under the same fire and anger, and kept it alive for four years." He said he won’t resign, and if he somehow survives Tuesday’s senate meeting, he could yet still have one last moment in the sun on Thursday. That’s the day that the Congressional Subcommittee reconvenes on the matter of jockey insurance, but this time the focus will be on racetrack officials. Judging from some of the comments at the last hearing from committee members, including chairman Ed Whitfield, they may get grilled on the question of whether the tracks should be taking more responsibility for on-track insurance. Then, Dr. G could say ‘You see, THIS is what I’ve been talking about all along!’ Still, the financial improprieties, which is causing some tracks and states to withhold desperately needed insurance contributions because of concerns about the management, will certainly lead to his demise sometime soon if not at the senate meeting on Tuesday. I take it we won't be able to watch this on TVG.
- It was a disastrous meet at the Meadowlands, concluding on Saturday with a declines of 12.3% and 15.8% for on-track and all-source handle respectively. They had seven race-day cancellations due to the rain, and a lot of horsemen went elsewhere, leaving short fields once the track dried out. Big meet for Channing Hill though, as his 19 wins was second only to Joe Bravo’s 24.
- Highland Cat returns on Saturday, and he’s being pointed to a maiden special on the turf this Saturday.. While I’m very excited about him running on the grass, I’m bummed about the date because I’ll be unavoidably out of town. Damn!