The first race at Belmont Park on Saturday was scheduled to go off at 1:30 p.m., but the starting gates did not open until 2:07 p.m. The highlight of the day's card, the $700,000 Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes, was originally scheduled for 6:50 p.m., but was pushed back to 7:22 p.m.
According to drf.com, the Jockeys' Guild chairman John Velazquez said that the cause for the delay was a coordinated effort on behalf of the jockey colony to get the “attention” of NYRA management.
Jockeys met with CEO Chris Kay and vice president of racing operations Martin Panza for approximately an hour, initially announcing their request for a meeting about 30 minutes before the first scheduled post time. NYRA and the Jockeys' Guild have been unable to hammer out a contract since Jan. 1, which seems to have been the primary impetus for the meeting. Another of the issues discussed involved raising the scale of weights for the riders.
“We negotiate with the Jockeys' Guild, we thought that was [president] Terry Meyocks and their attorney and the last time I talked to Terry he said let's let the attorneys handle it, so that wasn't really the most professional way to handle it,” Panza told DRF.com. “It's unfortunate they don't talk to their leadership first, or their leadership doesn't give us a heads-up because that's who we're negotiating with – at least that's who we thought we were negotiating with.
“Apparently, now we're going to talk to the jocks and maybe we can get a deal done with the jocks. It might be easier that way.”
Terry Meyocks told the Paulick Report: “The jockeys are having a conversation with NYRA officials on a number of issues, including the scale of weights. It's the whole colony; this has been building up for a long time.”
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