NY: Task Force Indicates Racing Industry Should Help Subsidize Jockey Disability Benefits

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In a meeting held Dec. 18, the New York Task Force on Jockey Health and Safety recommended that the racing industry in the state should help subsidize health and disability benefits for jockeys.

According to the Daily Racing Form, the seven-member task force will submit its recommendations to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March. The contribution from the industry in the state is expected to total around $1 million – although where the funds will be drawn from still remains a question mark.

Under a proposal presented by jockeys John Velazquez and Ramon Dominguez, a Health and Welfare Trust would be established. This fund would utilize “a Health Reimbursement Account for each eligible, active, retired, or permanently disabled jockey in which the New York State contributions will be held for each year.”

Riders could then use those funds to purchase health or welfare benefits, or the money could be put into a deferred income plan.

The task force indicated that jockeys that had at least 200 mounts at a NYRA track during the year would qualify for the benefits; retired jockeys who rode at least 7,500 mounts in New York and rode at least one race after Jan. 1, 2009, would also be eligible.

Read more in the Daily Racing Form

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  • john greathouse

    The fact that they are independent contractors seems to have escaped them.
    In addition, they had great Insurance before some of them decided they wanted
    other representation. What the hell…just buy obamacare.

    • fb0252

      or how about just Social Security Disability?

  • Hamish

    At what point does an independent contractor risk losing this tax filing status because an employee/employer relationship has been created as a result of receiving such benefits from a compilation of industry sources?

  • Rich get Richer

    Quick Stats from 2012

    NYRA 2012
    187 jockeys
    18,776 mounts
    $149,786,478 purses

    200 mounts or more
    26 jockeys (14%)
    15,807 mounts (84%) (608 avg)
    135,654,417 purses (91%) ($5,217,478 avg)
    Average earnings per jockey $450,000
    The earnings do not include any other tracks – Breeders Cup, Triple Crown, Gulfstream, etc.

    $1,000,000 distributed to 40 jockeys will be $25,000

    So, Johnny V and Ramon, exactly whose best interest are you looking out for? What about the 151 jockeys who get nothing? Many of these struggling jockeys work year round at NYRA working your horses and riding the ones you don’t want to ride.

    And did you forget there is another track in NY? What shouldn’t any health and welfare program include all NY jockeys? There is a track called Fingerlakes.

    Guess the old Jockeys’ Guild motto, “Jockeys Helping Jockeys” has been changed to “Jockeys Helping Themselves”. How about developing a program that helps all jockeys? Maybe H&W contributions to jockeys should be based on a per mount with a limit on the MAXIMUM number of mounts, not a minimum to help the rich.

    • Craig Brogden

      Interesting when you break it out how much of a money grab this is by a select few of the highly paid NY jockey’s.
      Shouldn’t a subsidy like this actually be for the lower paid jockeys who struggle to make a living at their craft but are necessary to keep the wheels of racing going. This insurance subsidy should be means tested to give low earning jockeys some help to cover their insurance costs and provide a retirement/pension system. All jockeys earning $100,000 should be ineligible to draw from the fund.
      A minimum of 25-50 rides might be necessary to eliminate those jockeys who do not derive the majority of their living from riding races from abusing the fund.

  • Richard C

    As another netizen has pointed out, the legislation just doesn’t go far enough in assisting the jock colony — you would think that those who made it to the top of the game would not forget the climb on the rugged mountain…..and ignore those are left at camps below them.

  • betterthannothing

    To limit the need for a Health and Welfare Trust in NY and nationwide, all jockeys should demand serious safety reforms to prevent equine and thus human abuse and injury as they have the right to do to save their own lives. Jockeys should and could force the industry to create a Racing Equine Health and Welfare Protective Agency & Trust to replace drugs and dangerous treatments used to deceive horses, jockeys, regulatory vets and horseplayers with security, transparency, integrity to enhance safety.

  • we’re watching

    JV and Ramon could kick it off with a donation of 10 percent of their purse winning lifetime.

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