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2004 Kentucky Jockey Insurance Controversy Archive


Note: As this story progressed it branched out from simply focusing on the jockey boycott at Churchill over the issue of insurance and moved on to encompassing the work of the Jockeys' Guild. This archive reflects that broader subject matter...

The links listed below make up the full archive of headlines that have been listed here on equidaily.com pertaining to the 2004 Kentucky Jockey Insurance Controversy.

Please understand that as time goes on some links might become inactive. We have no control over that.

They are listed in chronological order by day/date as they appeared in their various publications with the latest being at the top of the list.

Updated info from 2005 can be found at our Washington hearing on jockeys issues page

Kentucky insurance crisis:

From Tuesday 1/11:

DRF: Jockeys' Guild revenue had sharp decline in 2003

CHRB committee to check claims that Guild double-billed California, charity

From Saturday 1/8:

Jockeys' Guild may face squeeze on funding... Failed to provide info about its finances to two funders

From Thursday 1/6:

NTRA subcommittee on jockey insurance to make recommendations soon

DRF: CHRB's Shapiro, "We want to know that the Guild is solvent, we want to know that the money is there to cover any catastrophic accidents. I don't understand the arrogance of the Guild on this. If they are doing everything right, then they should have no problem answering any of these questions."

From Wednesday 1/5/05:

>>> Calif committee looking into Jockeys' Guild met for first time Tuesday

>>> Chris McCarron was a guest Tuesday night on the 'At the Races & Beyond' radio program. He spoke briefly about the rift between him and Jockeys' Guild prez Dr. L. Wayne Gertmenian:

"I've known him for quite a long time probably ten or twelve years... I forget exactly which years. Our daughters were going to school together and that's how our families came together. My daughter and his daughter are very, very close friends, they're like sisters. And I was spending more and more time with Wayne, going to his house and enjoying good social activities and so forth. And basically I used to vent with him my frustrations over the lack of progress that the Guild was making compared to other sports organizations such as the NFLPA, NBA, major league baseball players' association and so forth. And then when he got more curious as to what was going on and he got involved, it ended up being that he took the job when John Giovanni was voted out of that position. And I thought things were going along pretty well, and he and I had a falling out because I asked him one day if he would just go ahead and grant the request of Jerry Bailey and Pat Day and just simply provide a resume that they were asking for. What has he got to lose? He's accomplished a lot. He's got a lot to be proud of. Why don't you go ahead and do that? And when he said, no it was his own private business, things began to unravel from there... And I don't know. I don't know what he is and what he isn't. To this day. And I think it matters. Earlier on it didn't matter that much to me but now it matters, not just to me but it matters to all the jockeys. It matters to the strength of the organization, and the future of the organization. It matters a great deal. Because it all comes down to credibility and integrity."

From Thursday 12/30:

>>> For the number-crunchers: Summary of the Guild's '97-'03 Dept of Labor's Union Annual LM-2 Financial Reports (pdf format)

What is an LM-2 form? From the Dept of Labor website:
Every labor organization subject to the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, as amended (LMRDA), the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA), or the Foreign Service Act (FSA) must file a financial report, Form LM-2, LM-3, or LM-4, each year with the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment Standards Administration. The three forms vary in the level of financial details which must be reported. The filing requirements are determined by the total annual receipts of the union.

From Wednesday 12/29:

Cal panel to take closer look at Jockeys' Guild... Member of the California Horse Racing Board is forming a fact-finding committee to look into the activities of the Jockeys' Guild, in particular focusing on why many jocks were not aware that the Guild had canceled their catastrophic accident insurance... McCarron, Desormeaux to be on panel

From Tuesday 12/28:

>>> Gary Donahue replaced as co-chairman of Disabled Jockeys' Fund, "They never contacted me—even by mail. I had to find out through other people."

From Wednesday 12/22:

>>> Former Jockeys’ Guild prez Giovanni may help settle jockey insurance issue, "I'm here if people want to talk to me about it."

From Tuesday 12/21:

>>> Jockeys' Guild 'Labor-Management Agreement' from October lists wide-ranging demands for tracks

From Wednesday 12/15:

>>> "To win this war, we're going to lose some soldiers and I choose not to be one."... Jock Shane Sellers announces retirement... Supports Guild CEO Gertmenian's "war"

From Monday 12/13:

>>> No jock strike on Sunday

From Sunday 12/12:

>>> Gertmenian talks to Bloodhorse... "The industry has always been hostile to jockeys and the Jockeys' Guild. Jockeys are called pinheads, boys and girls, and told if they don't like it, they should go to work at McDonald's. In three and a half years I've seen nothing but disrespect. They are mean-spirited, evil people."

From Saturday 12/11:

>>> Gertmenian to DRF scribe looking into Jockeys' Guild prez' resume, "You're going to have to let this go."

From Friday 12/10:

>>> TTimes: Tracks prepared for possible jockey strike on Sunday
>>> TRA asks Jockeys' Guild for accounting of payments for insurance
>>> Because of workers' compensation insurance, California riders have substantially more coverage in case of catastrophic accident

From Thursday 12/9:

>>> Racetrack officials at the industry's annual convention expressed a mixture of surprise and dismay to the decision by the Jockeys' Guild to extend tcontract of L Wayne Gertmenian

From Wednesday 12/8:

>>> Guild extends Matrix Capital contract through 2009
>>> Dave Shepherd was named chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild on Tuesday

From Tuesday 12/7:

>>> Disabled jockey Gary Donahue, co-chair of Disabled Jockeys' Fund, said he is considering dropping out of a lawsuit against the Jockeys' Guild after Guild management presented evidence that finances earmarked for accident victims are accounted for, "All of my questions have been answered."
>>> DRF: Guild under scrutiny as member jockeys gather
>>> Bloodhorse: Guild tight-lipped at Assembly... King voted out... "Press as enemy" position apparently has become part of the Guild strategy
>>> Who said it?... He resigned from the [Jockeys'] Guild "because I think it can be managed a lot better than what it is. I think they're behind the times and ought to change their rules on some topics, and maybe they are -- I haven’t been to any meetings... But before I did quit, I researched a lot of stuff and I didn’t like what I found. There were things I thought could have been done better by (Guild) management, such as the insurance policies, for example." ... Eddie Delahoussaye in 1997 about the Giovanni run Jockeys' Guild
>>> Flashback: From June 2001... The Jockeys' Guild's entire staff has been fired, and a management team will look into the organization's finances in an effort to restore health insurance for 800 members and their families... All six office workers in Lexington and six regional directors have been let go. John Giovanni, the guild's national secretary, resigned a week a ago

From Monday 12/6:

>>> Insurance issue just recently took center stage -- but this jockey lived it last year, "I wouldn't have put myself in this situation if I'd known how it would affect my children, if I knew they'd be destitute."
>>> Fireworks at Jockeys' Guild meeting... Eddie King tossed from Guild... Another jock intimidates photog and reporter
>>> April 2004 Q&A with 'Dr G'... "We have on-track insurance, that is, workers’ comp or whatever the equivalent is, in California, Idaho, New York, Maryland, New Jersey. That’s it. Out of 38 states, only five. Now understand that all 38 states get money into their state coffers off the backs of these jockeys-and [33 states do] not protect them if they get hurt performing that function and providing that money for the state. Now I don’t know if there’s anything more reprehensible than that." [interview published in April, done in December]

From Sunday 12/5:

>>> Insurance issue just recently took center stage -- but this jockey lived it last year, "I wouldn't have put myself in this situation if I'd known how it would affect my children, if I knew they'd be destitute."
>>> Gertmenian has critics to answer at Guild’s annual meeting
>>> These questions aren't new: Thoroughbred Times piece from Sept 2001 questions credentials of Matrix and Gertmenian... "With no real knowledge of the Guild’s new leadership, its members and the public can only speculate about the Guild’s role in the future of America’s jockeys."
>>> Shoemaker Foundation, Don MacBeth Memorial Jockeys Fund work to help injured jocks
>>> Despite increasing controversy Guild seeks solidarity

From Saturday 12/4:

>>> Boycott jockeys back riding... Believe protest helped, "It got people to look at the issue, and hopefully something good will come from something bad."

From Friday 12/3:

>>> "We are hoping you will explain why the Guild no longer purchases this additional on-track insurance."... Churchill asks Jockeys' Guild to account for $1.25 mil its racetracks have given the riders' organization over the past three years... Asks that response be certified by an independent accountant and received by Tuesday
>>> CHRB question Jockeys' Guild VP on insurance issue, "This has been a huge black eye for racing and the Jockeys’ Guild is at the center of it. Obviously, we want to make sure that jockeys (in California) are receiving all the benefits to which they are entitled." [pdf format]

From Thursday 12/2:

>>> Bergstein: At upcoming Racing Symposium insurance issue is not on the agenda, but is likely to provide the liveliest discussion there
>>> Sellers' NLRB claim against Churchill withdrawn

From Tuesday 11/30:

>>> Disabled Jockeys' Fund likely to dissolve in 2004... Co-chair of Fund upset, "If the fund is depleted and can no longer exist, then we should have known about it and not have to find out through public record."
>>> Mission statement per Jockeys' Guild website: The Disabled Jockeys' Endowment will provide the long-term fiscal stability that allows the Jockeys’ Guild to continue to provide financial assistance to both permanently disabled and temporarily disabled members of the Jockeys' Guild
>>> Report: Jockey's Guild pushes members to sign over media rights... Suit ahead?
>>> Note from 'Dr G': "I had hoped the days of Master and Slave were over."

From Monday 11/29:

>>> Florida scribe takes a regional look at the insurance issue... Insurance industry rep, "There will always be a limited number of companies that will take an interest in writing workers' compensation insurance for the horse industry. Insurance companies in general are cautious entities, and in workers' comp, even more so."

From Thursday 11/25:

>>> Ex-Guild Manager: Jockeys must take reins

From Wednesday 11/24:

>>> Report: Auditing firm that looked at the Jockeys' Guild's 2001 financial statements wouldn't issue an opinion because it couldn't be sure the books were free of 'material misstatement'... Rep for a national accountants organization comments, "That puts everyone on alert that there could be something terribly wrong with this company or organization."
>>> Kent Desormeaux, a board member of the Jockeys' Guild, said he has begun an inquiry into qualifications of Guild's prez, L Wayne Gertmenian... "There are questions that have to be answered, and they can't be swept under the rug."
>>> Ousted Guild treasurer files lawsuit demanding an examination of the organization's finances

From Tuesday 11/23:

>>> Initial jockey-insurance meeting called productive... Guild's head doesn't expect any boycotts
>>> Jerry Bailey rep sends cease and desist letter to Jockeys' Guild reps requesting they stop accusing Bailey of having played a role in canceling insurance policies that benefited jockeys

From Saturday 11/20:

>>> DRF: Closer look at Gertmenian's qualifications... A background check by Daily Racing Form suggests there is little or no evidence that Gertmenian served in the important government posts he described... Gertmenian is described as "chief detente negotiator in Moscow" during the Nixon and Ford administrations from 1974 to 1976, as well as an "emissary to Teheran for the Secretary of Commerce." Those claims could not be subtantiated by archivists at the official Nixon and Ford presidential libraries... Presidential archivist, "There was no one with those titles."

Who is 'Dr G'?:
>>> Pepperdine profile page
>>> Pepperdine Curriculum Vitae page
>>> G-Net website... G-Net is a mutual support group organized by alumni and friends of Dr. G to help its members make consumer, investor, and career decisions. We also have social and cultural activities, as well as educational trips, and seminars. The content of this website does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of either Dr. L Wayne Gertmenian or Pepperdine University
>>> Russian site focusing on 'Dr G'
>>> Pepperdine students rate 'Dr G' on website called 'Rate My Professors'

>>> Jockeys' Guild rep: "The main purpose of the [NTRA insurance] task force isn't to find a solution. The main purpose of it is to discredit the Guild and tear the Guild down."

From Friday:

>>> Comment: An unbiased observer might conclude that the Jockeys' Insurance task force has been stacked against the best interests of the riders... The four people expected to be on the jockeys' side of the ledger all have potential shortcomings
>>> Bloodhorse provides a closer look at various angles of the current dispute
>>> Christine: Shane Seller, Eddie King at center of storm... Sellers, "What would happen if on Jan 1 all the guild riders told the tracks that they were going fishing? No matter what happens, we're the ones who put on the show. But the industry doesn't treat us like the professional athletes we are."
>>> Guild's insurance strategy remains unclear... Members apparently aren't all on the same page in terms of a strategy going forward
>>> Jockeys in insurance flap must meet with track GM to ride at Fair Grounds

From Thursday 11/18:

>>> Questions about Guild cash
>>> Paulick comment: It's becoming more and more evident to me that the leadership of the Jockeys' Guild may have hung the organization's own members out to dry
>>> Moran: The inherent danger of an occupation does not mitigate the fact that jockeys are independent contractors without allegiance or contractual obligation. Life does not come with all expenses paid and this is the life they have chosen
>>> Profile: Jock Rodney Trader didn't hesitate when asked to be replacement jockey... Wife, "There was no decision what we had to do."
>>> Jockeys differ on walkout strategy... Most Hoosier Park riders are supportive of cause, but question timing, organization, "Christmas is coming up. I've got two kids. It's not their fault. I believe in what the jockeys are doing, but I thought they did it the wrong way."
>>> Shane Sellers files complaint with National Labor Relations Board
>>> Comment: The jockeys at Churchill Downs and Hoosier Park who recently chose to sit out the meet over insurance issues have made a grievous mistake. And don't think for one second that the trainers and owners will soon forget what these riders did
>>> Louisiana scribe looks at insurance issue as Fair Grounds readies to open... La Racing Commission member, "I hope, particularly with Churchill coming here to the Fair Grounds, that things work well for them. I have every reason to believe it (a walkout) won't happen, but who can say?"

From Wednesday 11/17:

Insurance summit... First meeting next week, "It's not intended to be a negotiation of any kind. It's supposed to be a careful review of the facts and the perspectives of all the different viewpoints that are going to be around the table."... Also, approximately 20 jockeys have taken out insurance policies in the past week through an offer originating with Churchill Downs through Anthem Blue Cross-Blue Shield. The insurance policies, which have monthly premiums that can range from $30 to $250, provide jockeys and their families with up to $5 million in coverage for medical bills, but the policies do not provide for disability payments

>>> NTRA insurance panel member, "At the beginning, we'll meet on a regular ongoing basis, hopefully until we find some resolution or some industrywide plan."

From Tuesday 11/16:

>>> NTRA's Jockeys' Medical Insurance Panel named... Jerrry Bailey, Pat Day, Jack Knowlton, Donna Brothers among group... First meeting scheduled for next Monday
>>> Comment: There are no innocents in the on-going struggle between a faction of striking Mid-western jock and Churchill, there will be no winners
>>> Opinion: Industry needs to do something, and quickly, about the issue of medical insurance for jockeys. It's a black eye the sport does not need
>>> Jockeys' Guild expels King after call for audit

From Monday 11/15:

>>> Audio interview: Roger Stein talks to Jerry Bailey about the insurance controversy, his reason for leaving the Jockeys Guild, and more... Bailey explains that in 2002 after he learned the current Guild prez let the old policy lapse, "I proceeded to try to find my own health insurance which would cover me on-track as well as providing health insurance and I told the riders in NY, 'I don't like the way this sounds. You're not covered in non-workers comp states,' but either they didn't understand, they didn't listen, or they werent ready to listen -- and a lot of riders weren't ready to listen. And that's the reason I quit [the Guild]." [Windows Media format]

From Sat/Sun 11/13-14:

>>> How much do they make?... As insurance issues abound -- A tale of three jockeys: one rich, two getting by
>>> Boycott aside, racing is on at Hoosier... Track scrambles, but finds enough riders... Track prez, "We were extremely determined to race [Saturday]. We were extremely disappointed [Friday night]."
>>> Ky state official met with jockeys on insurance issue
>>> Despite burning bridges, Sellers has no regrets
>>> Churchill Downs offers 'Important Facts About Kentucky Jockeys And Insurance'
>>> Hoosier jocks join insurance boycott

From Friday 11/12:

>>> Banned jockeys can ride at other Churchill tracks
>>> Jockeys' boycott at Churchill Downs over insurance costs gives replacements such as Tammy Fox a chance to pursue a passion, "If Shane Sellers ever gets in my face, I'd hit him."
>>> Comments from the SoCal backside... Owner, "The message here is that the fabulous horse-racing industry that we're all involved in should develop consistency through all 50 states... This is a rare opportunity for the industry to screw its head on straight and come together."

From Thursday 11/11:

>>> Video: Confrontation at Churchill Wednesday as banned jocks try to pick up their equipment
>>> Banned jock Albarado comments on replacements, "With other riders coming in from other race tracks, it's quite dangerous, I think, there are safety issues now more than ever."
>>> Ky Legislators: Insurance/Workers' Comp law would take time

From Wednesday 11/10:

>>> Paulick comment: Churchill jockeys are unhappy with their plight. They might look within their own [Jockeys' Guild] to discover how they got there
>>> ...Flashback to 10/24 NY Daily News article quoted in Paulick commentary
>>> Some new names among the jocks named to ride Wednesday
>>> Comment from SoCal scribe: [Track owners] need to ante up now. Find some smidgen from their lucrative off-track wagering and offer every jockey complete catastrophic accident insurance
>>> Churchill-banned jock Bejarano headed to NY
>>> Insurance woes hound jockeys... Majority can't afford to get extra coverage -- Over 90% of full-time riders in US earn less than $30K a year before paying taxes
>>> Euro jock Kieren Fallon possible for weekend rides
>>> Ky Gov Ernie Fletcher's administration willing to meet with the Jockeys' Guild to discuss legislation that would provide workers' comp for jocks

From Tuesday 11/09:

>>> Insurance clash continues at Churchill... Trainer Asmussen, "They think they're Norma Rae; they're not Norma Rae. All of them cleaned out their lockers, got in their Mercedes SUVs and drove to their million-dollar house. So they're not worried how to feed the kids."
>>> Agent drops jock Bejarano over insurance dispute, "I don't have any respect for the way [Bejarano] did this. I've looked out for his best interests all along, and now he's gone ahead and done something that's just not right. I told him we were finished if he did this."
>>> Insurance issue: D'Amico and wife worry about medical costs, "The medical bills I think will be very high. I started pulling out every policy I had. I just don't know if they'll cover him for a work-related injury."... Shane Sellers upset with colleague, "It makes me feel like I always feel about Pat Day. He's a hypocrite. And he does what's right for Pat Day. He could care less about the little guys."
>>> Craig Perret: "They're generating enough money to try to take care of the people that are actually putting the show on. We're the ones risking our necks."
>>> Jockeys' Guild targets Churchill, Ky in insurance conflict
>>> Video: Interview with Tony D'Amico from hospital bed. Considering return to racing in light of current insurance issues, "I would not want to put myself in this situation again."
>>> NTRA to form panel to study insurance question
>>> Video: Interview with Shane Sellers: "They manhandled me and put the handcuffs on me and took me out and humiliated me... [Churchill prez Steve Sexton] never done a good job since he's been here and he dropped the ball on this one big time."

From Monday 11/08:

>>> Insurance issue comes to a boil... Churchill jocks threaten to boycott... Jocks ejected: Rafael Bejarano, Robby Albarado, Calvin Borel, Mark Guidry and Willie Martinez were among the jockeys prohibited from racing or appearing at Churchill through the conclusion of the fall meet, which ends Nov 27
>>> Sidelined jock Shane Sellers escorted from track in handcuffs... Was going to informational meeting with other jocks... "A few days ago, [Churchill VP] John Asher was quoted as saying I was a class act and a standup guy, and they couldn't wait to see me back riding. Now they do this to me."
>>> Video report from last week: Ky TV station: After D'Amico spill, jockeys are asking Churchill for a major change in the way they do business


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