- Wanted to catch up a bit and mention the sad story of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, which the Guild said earlier this week is nearly broke (and thanks to reader Cookie Jill for sending that along).
That means 58 jockeys who receive funds through the program will not receive the $1,000 payment each is scheduled to get in April..Some tracks and other groups that have contributed before are apparently no longer doing so. Without wading into the debate about jockeys' work status and whether tracks are obligated to extend benefits to a group they consider to be contracted workers, it just seems to me that an industry that has itself had to turn to
"These are people, and $1,000 a month to these people is vital," [Guild director Dwight] Manley said.
"I don't know what the solution is....It's everybody in this multibillion-dollar industry." [AP]
Nice to read that Edgar Prado has donated the saddle he used to win the Derby with Barbaro to an auction which will raise money for the Fund.
- Slots opponents in Maryland are seizing upon some remarks made by a former pro-slots State Senator which were recorded by the FBI six years ago to make their case as to how expanded gambling at tracks will plunge the state into a full-fledged gambling haven (like much of the rest of the Northeast).
[Sen. Thomas L.] Bromwell was recorded bragging about how slots would start at tracks, spread to off-track betting parlors and move to such places as downtown Baltimore and Owings Mills. He also said he expected a piece of all the action.Governor Martin O'Malley does favor slots limited to racetracks, and with the main purpose of helping the industry compete with surrounding states.
"If you get the [expletive] slot machines, you can build a casino," Bromwell was recorded as saying in November 2001. "There's going to be five OTBs [off-track betting parlors] in Maryland ... they're going to be all over the place. ... We'll do Baltimore County. We'll do [expletive] Owings Mills. We'll do Cambridge."
Gerard E. Evans, lobbyist for the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, said it was "hysteria" to try to sully slots supporters with the six-year-old words of a "senator who is not even here anymore." [Baltimore Sun]