- Former Jockey Guild president Wayne Gertmenian has been booted off the creditors committee in the Guild's bankruptcy proceedings. The U.S. trustee would not comment specifically, saying only that the action was pursuant to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code section governing committee administration. But perhaps he saw some of the same evidence, presented to a US House of Representatives committee in October, 2005, which strongly indicated that Gertmenian had bled the Guild dry to his own financial benefit, as well as that of his family and associates. And maybe he learned that Gertmenian wrote himself checks on the day that he was removed. Dr. G, as he was once affectionately called, claims that the Guild owes him over $900,000 in one of the greatest displays of gall I've ever seen; and his position on the creditors committee further twisted the knife.
So I'm sure that the Guild is ecstatic, though current president Terry Meycocks would not comment. The move leaves Gertmenian's associates in a minority position on the committee; and they include Lloyd Ownbey Jr., the Guild's legal stooge under Dr. G. I'm hoping that he has something to say on the matter, because we can always use a few laughs around here.
- Churchill Downs, which as you may recall, sued the Guild in 2005 over the jockey boycotts the year before, has filed suit against two horsemen's groups over their refusal to approve the export of simulcast signals from, so far, Calder and Lone Star, and, starting tomorrow, Churchill Downs itself. The horsemen want to see betting handle split evenly three ways between the tracks, ADW's, and the horsemen. Matt Hegarty reports in the Form that currently, a horsemen's group gets approximately one-quarter of the revenue through a combination of direct payments and source-market fees.
In the lawsuit, Churchill alleges that the individual horsemen's associations that have joined the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group [specifically in this case, the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association] have "entered into a contract, combination, and conspiracy to raise and stabilize the price for [simulcast] signals, and to coerce acceptance of their demands by a joint boycott of sellers of signals." [Daily Racing Form]But isn't Churchill, in combination with Magna through their TrackNet Media venture, doing essentially the same thing by aggregating the two companies' signals to increase their negotiating power, and then cutting off those signals from the ADW's such as TVG who don't accede to their terms?
- Del Mar will water their Polytrack in the afternoons this year. Their refusal to do so last year was one of the more contentious issues between track management and horsemen over the surface. The horsemen contended that it was the lack of watering which caused the track to slow down so significantly in the afternoons; but Del Mar didn't want to fool with procedures that was resulting in less catastrophic injuries. The track has also added a different wax to the mixture.
[Director of racing Tom] Robbins said the applied wax is "a different type of wax that will react a little differently than the original wax that was put in. It will be less sensitive to the warm climate. We've definitely found that it cools down the material and holds it together better.
"Our goal is to lessen the difference between afternoon and morning. I'm cautiously optimistic that the additional water will be pretty helpful. We want to get there and not sacrifice safety." [DRF]