Cliff Goodrich, president of Santa Anita, said Friday that jockeys at his track will not be making any concessions in their national dispute over accident insurance if they ride on New Year’s Day.
“The issue of television rights will be settled in court,” Goodrich said. “The jockeys won’t be giving up anything by riding here or any place else on Jan. 1 (next Wednesday).”
The Jockeys’ Guild, which represents most of the jockeys at Santa Anita and around the country, objects to the loss of broadcasting rights, which have been excluded from the insurance offer by the Thoroughbred Racing Assn. The TRA represents most of the major tracks, among them Santa Anita, and has been trying to get new insurance coverage for the riders after the current policy expires next Tuesday. The guild says that for about 20 years, its members have been waiving their broadcast rights in exchange for insurance coverage.
At Santa Anita, entries will be taken Sunday for Wednesday’s races. This will show which jockeys intend to ride. During a three-week jockeys’ walkout at New York’s Aqueduct in 1988, racing continued even though most of the major riders refused to ride.
“Racing’s television rights don’t equal the insurance premiums (about $5 million),” Goodrich said. “The Jockeys’ Guild has filed suit in court, and this puts the tracks in a difficult position: Even if we wanted to admit that the jockeys deserve these television rights, we couldn’t do so because we might prejudice the suit.”