TRC Passes Two Rule Proposals Designed To Protect Horsemen's Money

The Texas Horsemen's Partnership (THP) recently submitted two proposed rules to the Texas Racing Commission (TRC) in an effort to protect horsemen's money. This week, the TRC passed both of those rule proposals.

The first of the THP's rule proposal passed now prohibits a racetrack from deducting administrative costs from horsemen's fees paid into stakes and futurity races. Prior to the approval of this rule, the language regarding these fees was ambiguous, thereby allowing tracks the opportunity to make deductions for handling the races.

"This was obviously an oversight at some point", THP Executive Director Tommy Azopardi commented about the previous version of the rule that allowed racetrack to make deductions for handling stakes and futurity races. He continued, "Only a couple of racetracks have done this in the past, but we wanted to put an end to this practice."

The THP maintained the position that racetracks were licensed to conduct races and should not be allowed to charge for it. The vote by the TRC was unanimous, and none of the tracks opposed this initiative.

The second rule change proposed by the THP and passed by the TRC pertained to the payment of jockey fees. The rules previously stated that a jockey was entitled to payment for a race as soon as he crossed the scales after that race. Most of the time, this is not a problem. However, in some stakes races, the jockey fee is substantial. If the jockey receives his payment prior to a post-race medication test that comes back with a positive for a prohibited medication, there is the potential for a serious problem. If the positive is upheld and the purse for such a race is redistributed, the THP would be responsible for retrieving that money and making sure the correct jockey received that payment.

The new rule will now allow the THP to establish policies on how those payments are made. It will only apply to races in which the jockey fees exceed $5,000. The Jockey's Guild was very understanding of the THP's concerns and supported the rule change.

The next regular meeting of the TRC is scheduled for August 12, 2002.

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