Many believe that jockeys are grossly undervalued and taken for granted in the world of horse racing. Bookmakers never lose, and owners always have another race to which they can look forward. Punters alternate between crests of joy and learning some rueful lessons for future use. Jockeys, who risk life and limb as a matter of routine, are rarely given their due credit. It is common to exult over a famous win, but to forget the incredibly courageous rider who nurses an aggressive colt, gelding or filly past the last post.
This is why Kentucky congressman Whitfield deserves a pat on the back. The Republican has come out in support of State legislation that would treat jockeys as workmen, and give them insurance workers. Racetrack workers will also be covered by the new laws if they pass muster in the house. Whitfield figures that revenues from Television coverage of horse racing can go in part to meet the additional expenses.
Needless to say, additional money for some is bound to raise the hackles of those left out in the cold! The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association feels that recent pay hikes for jockeys should take care of their needs. No prizes for guessing what the Jockeys Guild has to say on the matter of protection for their tribe!
Governor Fletcher has offered to intervene and help contending parties reach a compromise. Let us hope that the Jockey Injury Fund takes off soon!