Jockeys’ Guild wins no friends calling out ‘deadbeats’

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I don’t think Terry Meyocks, the former New York Racing Association president and current Jockeys’ Guild national manager, has read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

If he had, he might have thought twice about sending out a press release calling out Penn National Gaming Inc. and nine other racetrack operators as the “worst deadbeats” on the issue of jockey health and safety issues. The press release also thanked a list of tracks the Guild called “the good guys,” including Churchill Downs Inc. and the Stronach Group-owned tracks, among others.

“I’m disappointed with the tone of the release and the accusations and their intents,” said Chris McErlean, the vice president of racing for Penn National Gaming, which Meyocks said was No. 1 on the “worst deadbeat” list “because it has the most tracks and in my opinion has made it clear that it cares about only one thing, casino gaming.”

McErlean said PNGI spends $1.2 million per year on accident insurance for jockeys at its various racetracks.

“That’s more than any other company, as far as I know,” said McErlean, who also serves as president of Thoroughbred Racing Associations. The TRA used to provide national coverage for the Jockeys’ Guild until the organization self-destructed with the ill-advised hiring of Wayne Gertmenian in 2001. He was ousted five years later, leaving the organization in shambles. Its members are still in the process of cleaning up the mess created by Gertmenian, who the Guild said bilked the jockeys for more than $1 million.

McErlean said PNGI also has been a continuous supporter of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, which provides assistance to more than 60 jockeys disabled through riding accidents. “We think the entire industry should be support the PDJF and gave $30,000 in 2012,” he added.

PNGI is not contributing to health insurance for jockeys, however, in part because the riders are independent contractors and not employees of the racetrack or horsemen.

“I think it’s unfair,” McErlean said of the Guild’s accusations and the comments by Meyocks. “It’s a gross distortion, not just against us but other tracks.”

Dennis Drazin, who advises the horseman’s organization that runs New Jersey’s Monmouth Park, listed as the No. 6 “worst deadbeat” by the Guild, was more blunt.

“Terry is full of BS,” Drazin said. “He tried to shake Monmouth down for contributions for media rights. New Jersey provides some of the best jockey benefits in the country. Our workers’ compensation program is among the best without caps like other states. We traded off media rights years ago for a $150,000 per year jockey health insurance program which Dr. (Angelo) Chinnici, our track medical director, administrated and complained about some charges the Guild tried to charge.

“Monmouth horsemen voluntarily paid a higher $100 mount fee in some categories than Kentucky tracks. We cover our jockeys. During the meeting, Terry refused to pass on other contributions to New Jersey jockeys, insisting on keeping at least half for the Guild when we wanted to give 100% to our NJ jockeys and instead we bought an ambulance to add additional direct benefit.

“He also refused to let our insurance consultant sit in on the meeting to explain the extent of coverages we pay for our jockeys.  I could go on, but Terry has now made himself persona non grata at Monmouth Park. He should be ashamed for not telling the truth about NJ benefits for our jockeys. We care about our jockeys and protect them.”

There was a time in the pre-Gertmenian era when TRA racetracks and the Jockeys’ Guild worked together in a respectful and collaborative fashion. Too bad Dale Carnegie isn’t around to bring them back together.

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  • Guest

     I find it very puzzling that the JG was unable to prosecute L. Wayne….and he is still employed as a professor at Pepperdine.

    • Joe Jock

      The infamous Dr G didn’t steal anything.  He didn’t have to, brain surgeon jocks gave him everything.

  • Guest

     I find it very puzzling that the JG was unable to prosecute L. Wayne….and he is still employed as a professor at Pepperdine.

  • Knowitall

    Meyocks seems like he would have more experience and sense than to have handled the endless debate the way he did?

    • Stargazer609

      You have to be kidding. If they’ve tried for months and have gotten nowhere, why not call these tracks deadbeats? That’s what they are. You have Churchill and Stronach’s tracks doing their park, why shouldn’t these clowns kick in some money? Maybe they DO need to be publicly embarrassed! They are embarrasing to the sport of racing

      • Knowitall

        That may be, but I doubt anyone working at companies like Penn National are embarrassed easily. This tactic will just cement their position. The horsemen in NJ sound equally thrilled. And no, I was not kidding.

  • Knowitall

    Meyocks seems like he would have more experience and sense than to have handled the endless debate the way he did?

  • LongTimeEconomist

    I’ve never understood how Meyocks was able to get some of the jobs he did.

  • LongTimeEconomist

    I’ve never understood how Meyocks was able to get some of the jobs he did.

  • Stanley inman

    Ray,
    Not sure about meyocks strategy
    To aid jockeys.
    Top ten lists are great for ridicule
    But
    Terry is about to find out
    The hidden “cost” of using
    social media

  • Stanley inman

    Ray,
    Not sure about meyocks strategy
    To aid jockeys.
    Top ten lists are great for ridicule
    But
    Terry is about to find out
    The hidden “cost” of using
    social media

  • Guest

    $1.2 million? That’s nothing compared to the what Penn National would pay if it provided workers’ compensation insurance, as do the tracks in California–who also provide on-track insurance coverage. Cheap and uncaring is as cheap and uncaring does. It’s disgusting.

    • Larryburndorf

      Correct me if i am wrong, but doesn’t law have a lot to do with why California tracks pay for such things?

  • Guest

    $1.2 million? That’s nothing compared to the what Penn National would pay if it provided workers’ compensation insurance, as do the tracks in California–who also provide on-track insurance coverage. Cheap and uncaring is as cheap and uncaring does. It’s disgusting.

  • ziggypop

    Shooting the messenger?

    • NAFTA

      There are proper ways to get the message across, and this sure isn’t one of them.

    • The Messenger

      The messenger:

      State of New York
      Office of the Attorney General
      June 2003
      An Examination of Employee Misconduct at the New York Racing Association, Inc., and Management’s Response

      Terence J. Meyocks replaced Noe as President in 1996. 

      CONCLUSIONIt is clear from these facts that crime was part of the culture at NYRA. There are many reasons for this, but foremost is the lack of accountability inherent in NYRA’s governance structure. There is little transparency and a habitual resistance to oversight. It is an insular, opaque, and unaccountable organization.

      • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

        Hoo was the CEO @ that time???…Charles Hayward said everything @ NYRA was perfect while he was @ the wheel???…I know one thing for sure…they never really went out of their way to PROMOTE a damn @ none of the three tracks they were in charge of…ty…

  • ziggypop

    Shooting the messenger?

  • James Staples

    Will the game ever get all its **** on the same page???…Don’t bet on it!!!…

  • James Staples

    Will the game ever get all its **** on the same page???…Don’t bet on it!!!…

  • Stargazer609

    You have to be kidding. If they’ve tried for months and have gotten nowhere, why not call these tracks deadbeats? That’s what they are. You have Churchill and Stronach’s tracks doing their park, why shouldn’t these clowns kick in some money? Maybe they DO need to be publicly embarrassed! They are embarrasing to the sport of racing

  • Claudia_m_velasquez_l

    For the people who don’t understand what’s happening on the sports industry, the jockeys are the worst payers in the industry and the ones who are making all the money is the racetrack ( bets, tvnetworks and the off tracks bets). Now this is my question? What kind of piece of pie the jockeys gets? 5 percent of the pie. And people said the track is taking good care of the jockeys? NO we are still the worst payers in the Sport Industry. The time is changing, the Jockeys needs to step up and fight for their rights!!!!!

    • Larryburndorf

      Ha that’s why every top jock i know at even the bottom tracks drive 80k cars!

      • Don Reed

        Except the ones in the wheelchairs.

        • Larryburndorf

          Yeah you’re right, i remember when Birzer had to sue the jocks guild!

    • SGDavis

      The worst being paid in the industry are the caretakers(grooms). Those who actually do all the work, while the non-handson fat cats(trainers) get rich. If you divided the hours into the wages these people make each week, it comes out to roughly $5.00 to $6.00 per hour…..far below minimum wage. Not to mention no benefits, no sick days allowed(without possibly getting fired), no extra pay for holidays worked, etc etc etc.

    • Barney Door

       Buy a horse, Claude

  • Claudia_m_velasquez_l

    For the people who don’t understand what’s happening on the sports industry, the jockeys are the worst payers in the industry and the ones who are making all the money is the racetrack ( bets, tvnetworks and the off tracks bets). Now this is my question? What kind of piece of pie the jockeys gets? 5 percent of the pie. And people said the track is taking good care of the jockeys? NO we are still the worst payers in the Sport Industry. The time is changing, the Jockeys needs to step up and fight for their rights!!!!!

  • NAFTA

    There are proper ways to get the message across, and this sure isn’t one of them.

  • Knowitall

    That may be, but I doubt anyone working at companies like Penn National are embarrassed easily. This tactic will just cement their position. The horsemen in NJ sound equally thrilled. And no, I was not kidding.

  • Joe Jock

    The infamous Dr G didn’t steal anything.  He didn’t have to, brain surgeon jocks gave him everything.

  • David

    Penn National Gaming Inc is definitely “worst deadbeats” when it comes to the horseplayers.

  • David

    Penn National Gaming Inc is definitely “worst deadbeats” when it comes to the horseplayers.

  • Larryburndorf

    Ha that’s why every top jock i know at even the bottom tracks drive 80k cars!

  • Larryburndorf

    Correct me if i am wrong, but doesn’t law have a lot to do with why California tracks pay for such things?

  • Jjvera62

    ive been to every track on the east coast and penn national is by far the worst track for jocks,horseplayers and horse owners.  they could give 2 cents about horse racing!

  • Jjvera62

    ive been to every track on the east coast and penn national is by far the worst track for jocks,horseplayers and horse owners.  they could give 2 cents about horse racing!

  • The Messenger

    The messenger:

    State of New York
    Office of the Attorney General
    June 2003
    An Examination of Employee Misconduct at the New York Racing Association, Inc., and Management’s Response

    Terence J. Meyocks replaced Noe as President in 1996. 

    CONCLUSIONIt is clear from these facts that crime was part of the culture at NYRA. There are many reasons for this, but foremost is the lack of accountability inherent in NYRA’s governance structure. There is little transparency and a habitual resistance to oversight. It is an insular, opaque, and unaccountable organization.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    I worked in the Racing Office, then did the Equibase database startup.  Meyocks and Noe took their racing ignorant employees from Fla. to NY.  Their “job interview” was a 1 day visit to Aqueduct, with a free room at the Garden City Hotel, where I was told to pick them up and show them a house.  One of the couples bought it over the phone…Lucky me until I had to work with them.  More insulting were those jockeys like Jerry Bailey and his Agent Bob Frieze, who NEVER took care of the barn help.  Instead, they filled their pockets.  All they did was TAKE.

    • Don Reed

      Bailey was a notorious tightwad.  Then he wondered why people just used HIM.

      • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

        Jerry so tight he squeaks when he walks (Mr.Squeaky)…Hell Tiger Wood$ & Jerry would get along great!!!…

        • Don Reed

          Bailey would try to break the pre-nup agreement.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    I worked in the Racing Office, then did the Equibase database startup.  Meyocks and Noe took their racing ignorant employees from Fla. to NY.  Their “job interview” was a 1 day visit to Aqueduct, with a free room at the Garden City Hotel, where I was told to pick them up and show them a house.  One of the couples bought it over the phone…Lucky me until I had to work with them.  More insulting were those jockeys like Jerry Bailey and his Agent Bob Frieze, who NEVER took care of the barn help.  Instead, they filled their pockets.  All they did was TAKE.

  • Larry Ensor

    I am not defending Penn National I just believe in being fair and balanced and Penn National’s response should have been printed in it’s entirety. Not just a sound bite.
    The following are some excerpts from PN’s response if the PR will allow. IMO as a small business owner I think it is a strong and fair argument regardless of anyone’s personal feelings about PN. An argument that ANY business would make.
    This antiquated strong arm Union tactic hasn’t worked out to well for other Unions.

    “McErlean pointed out that Penn National pays $1.2 million annually for insurance premiums at each of its tracks that provide $1 million in coverage per
    incident for injured jockeys”

    “Our position is they’re not our employees, and we do provide insurance in the event of an accident at the track to pay for their health benefits, McErlean said. It is not our responsibility. Jockeys are independent contractors. They don’t work for the racetracks, they’re not hired by the racetracks. They have fought in court to be independent contractors. There is no other independent contractor that Penn National hires that we
    provide health benefits for. That’s the whole purpose of being an independent contractor. Obviously, the horsemen are not contributing in any way, and it’s curious that horsemen were not singled out in addition to the racetracks for providing benefits, since they’re
    the ones who employ the riders.”

    “In the state of Pennsylvania, the jockeys receive $250,000 a year from gaming revenue to have their own health benefits program, he explained. And they have their own group and administer their own benefits program. We’ve had discussions in other jurisdictions advocating for something similar and, unfortunately, it hasn’t really gained much traction, or the horsemen have basically said, “just give us the money for purses.”

    “I don’t have the exact numbers, but the number of Guild members at our racetracks vary,@ he explained. At Beulah Park, maybe 15% of the riders are members. At Charles Town it might be in the mid 50s, and that’s the highest. Guild membership at our tracks isn’t a majority, so paying for benefits for riders that aren’t even at your racetracks is an issue as well. McErlean noted that Penn National Gaming executives discussed these matters with the Guild the Guild last
    year, and are open to further discussion. Obviously they didn’t like our position. We’re disappointed they’re using these types of tactics, and we think they’re misleading and don’t tell the whole story.”

  • Larry Ensor

    I am not defending Penn National I just believe in being fair and balanced and Penn National’s response should have been printed in it’s entirety. Not just a sound bite.
    The following are some excerpts from PN’s response if the PR will allow. IMO as a small business owner I think it is a strong and fair argument regardless of anyone’s personal feelings about PN. An argument that ANY business would make.
    This antiquated strong arm Union tactic hasn’t worked out to well for other Unions.

    “McErlean pointed out that Penn National pays $1.2 million annually for insurance premiums at each of its tracks that provide $1 million in coverage per
    incident for injured jockeys”

    “Our position is they’re not our employees, and we do provide insurance in the event of an accident at the track to pay for their health benefits, McErlean said. It is not our responsibility. Jockeys are independent contractors. They don’t work for the racetracks, they’re not hired by the racetracks. They have fought in court to be independent contractors. There is no other independent contractor that Penn National hires that we
    provide health benefits for. That’s the whole purpose of being an independent contractor. Obviously, the horsemen are not contributing in any way, and it’s curious that horsemen were not singled out in addition to the racetracks for providing benefits, since they’re
    the ones who employ the riders.”

    “In the state of Pennsylvania, the jockeys receive $250,000 a year from gaming revenue to have their own health benefits program, he explained. And they have their own group and administer their own benefits program. We’ve had discussions in other jurisdictions advocating for something similar and, unfortunately, it hasn’t really gained much traction, or the horsemen have basically said, “just give us the money for purses.”

    “I don’t have the exact numbers, but the number of Guild members at our racetracks vary,@ he explained. At Beulah Park, maybe 15% of the riders are members. At Charles Town it might be in the mid 50s, and that’s the highest. Guild membership at our tracks isn’t a majority, so paying for benefits for riders that aren’t even at your racetracks is an issue as well. McErlean noted that Penn National Gaming executives discussed these matters with the Guild the Guild last
    year, and are open to further discussion. Obviously they didn’t like our position. We’re disappointed they’re using these types of tactics, and we think they’re misleading and don’t tell the whole story.”

  • Eddie Donnally

    Ray my brother, Me thinks you do protest too much. It seem at the very least odd that one who prides himself on calling “a spade a spade,” would come come down on another in the industry for doing the same. And Guild leaders, as union leaders, don’t typically win concessions by making friends. I remember that when Terry took over there was talk that he would be too “easy going.”

    As a former rider, who remembers when the rider of the Derby runner-up earned $50 and one who struck while riding at Finger Lakes in 1970 because riders were not guaranteed 10% of the winning purse. If the trainer became angry because you didn’t ride a later race very well or chose another trainer’s horse over his, you got Zero Percent. None of the Guild directors I knew, and I knew several, ever advanced the cause of riders by being nice. I say, “right on” Terry.  

    • Larryburndorf

      Ha, when you stay on the fence you don’t have to relay an actual opinion! Would figure if you have read the Paulick Report you would realize they like to report based on their opinion. Which allows them to establish they are unbiased by not giving an actual opinion. Unless it so blatantly mainstream that it showed them in a positive light!

    • Joe Jock

      Eddie,

      While certainly giving credit to Eddie Acaro and the other jockeys who stood up for better pay and benefits, there has never been a better time to ride.  Slot-fueled purses, $100 jock mounts, $1 million (or unlimited in work comp states), many tracks funding personal health programs, and an industry that is finally taking safety seriously.  Levels retired riders like you never even dreamed about.

      The biggest problem jocks have is keeping their money.  Many are paying agents 30% and valets 10%.  No one else in the industry pays in such large amounts.  Many valets make over $100,000.

      The majority of jockeys do not belong to the guild.  Most cannot qualify for the disability benefits the guild offers.  The guild needs to look how it treats their own.  If jockeys want a national trade association, let them pay like all other associations.  There are reasons why the DOL doesn’t not allow management to fund unions.  Shouldn’t be any different here.

      • Larryburndorf

        What exactly do you think trainers pay out? I am willing to wager it is more than 40% unless they are making Pletcher type money.

  • Eddie Donnally

    Ray my brother, Me thinks you do protest too much. It seem at the very least odd that one who prides himself on calling “a spade a spade,” would come come down on another in the industry for doing the same. And Guild leaders, as union leaders, don’t typically win concessions by making friends. I remember that when Terry took over there was talk that he would be too “easy going.”

    As a former rider, who remembers when the rider of the Derby runner-up earned $50 and one who struck while riding at Finger Lakes in 1970 because riders were not guaranteed 10% of the winning purse. If the trainer became angry because you didn’t ride a later race very well or chose another trainer’s horse over his, you got Zero Percent. None of the Guild directors I knew, and I knew several, ever advanced the cause of riders by being nice. I say, “right on” Terry.  

  • Larryburndorf

    Ha, when you stay on the fence you don’t have to relay an actual opinion! Would figure if you have read the Paulick Report you would realize they like to report based on their opinion. Which allows them to establish they are unbiased by not giving an actual opinion. Unless it so blatantly mainstream that it showed them in a positive light!

  • Joe Jock

    Eddie,

    While certainly giving credit to Eddie Acaro and the other jockeys who stood up for better pay and benefits, there has never been a better time to ride.  Slot-fueled purses, $100 jock mounts, $1 million (or unlimited in work comp states), many tracks funding personal health programs, and an industry that is finally taking safety seriously.  Levels retired riders like you never even dreamed about.

    The biggest problem jocks have is keeping their money.  Many are paying agents 30% and valets 10%.  No one else in the industry pays in such large amounts.  Many valets make over $100,000.

    The majority of jockeys do not belong to the guild.  Most cannot qualify for the disability benefits the guild offers.  The guild needs to look how it treats their own.  If jockeys want a national trade association, let them pay like all other associations.  There are reasons why the DOL doesn’t not allow management to fund unions.  Shouldn’t be any different here.

  • Larryburndorf

    What exactly do you think trainers pay out? I am willing to wager it is more than 40% unless they are making Pletcher type money.

  • Don Reed

    Not wild about Terry’s operation lately, so I’m not surprised this played out the way it did.

    Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.  He’s the guy who has to hang in there with the injured jockeys until the bitter end, while the rest of us get to post cute little things on the internet and then, generally, gradually forget about the injured jockeys.

  • Don Reed

    Not wild about Terry’s operation lately, so I’m not surprised this played out the way it did.

    Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.  He’s the guy who has to hang in there with the injured jockeys until the bitter end, while the rest of us get to post cute little things on the internet and then, generally, gradually forget about the injured jockeys.

  • Don Reed

    Bailey was a notorious tightwad.  Then he wondered why people just used HIM.

  • Don Reed

    Except the ones in the wheelchairs.

  • Larryburndorf

    Yeah you’re right, i remember when Birzer had to sue the jocks guild!

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    Hoo was the CEO @ that time???…Charles Hayward said everything @ NYRA was perfect while he was @ the wheel???…I know one thing for sure…they never really went out of their way to PROMOTE a damn @ none of the three tracks they were in charge of…ty…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    Jerry so tight he squeaks when he walks (Mr.Squeaky)…Hell Tiger Wood$ & Jerry would get along great!!!…

  • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

    Penn National Gaming could care less.. it is no different then when they KNOW kill buyers are pulling into their property and taking horses to slaughter… they play the dumb role as usual. They could care less about anyone in this sport besides themselves. The athletes and the jockeys are last if they are even at all. McErlean will never change or care.. they need to get him out of there and find someone that does 

  • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

    Penn National Gaming could care less.. it is no different then when they KNOW kill buyers are pulling into their property and taking horses to slaughter… they play the dumb role as usual. They could care less about anyone in this sport besides themselves. The athletes and the jockeys are last if they are even at all. McErlean will never change or care.. they need to get him out of there and find someone that does 

  • SGDavis

    Meyocks said was No. 1 on the “worst deadbeat” list “because it has the most tracks and in my opinion has made it clear that it cares about only one thing, casino gaming”

    Almost everybody on the backside(and those who ship in) would agree to this.

  • SGDavis

    Meyocks said was No. 1 on the “worst deadbeat” list “because it has the most tracks and in my opinion has made it clear that it cares about only one thing, casino gaming”

    Almost everybody on the backside(and those who ship in) would agree to this.

  • SGDavis

    The worst being paid in the industry are the caretakers(grooms). Those who actually do all the work, while the non-handson fat cats(trainers) get rich. If you divided the hours into the wages these people make each week, it comes out to roughly $5.00 to $6.00 per hour…..far below minimum wage. Not to mention no benefits, no sick days allowed(without possibly getting fired), no extra pay for holidays worked, etc etc etc.

  • Don Reed

    Bailey would try to break the pre-nup agreement.

  • Barney Door

    Legalized prostitution.

  • Barney Door

    Legalized prostitution.

  • Barney Door

     Buy a horse, Claude

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