12/31/2004 12:00AM

Calif. group to question Guild

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A committee headed by California Horse Racing Board member Richard Shapiro and including jockey Kent Desormeaux and several racetrack executives will look into how California's contribution to the Jockeys' Guild has been allocated. Under California law, uncashed mutuel tickets are turned over to the Jockeys' Guild and are to be used for insurance and for disabled riders. For the calendar year 2003, that contribution totaled more than $1 million.

"It's a fact-finding committee that will look into issues such as why the catastrophic insurance was allowed to lapse, things like that," Mike Marten, a spokesman for the racing board, said Friday. "They are forming the basis of what to take to the board. Commissioner Shapiro wants questions answered so we know as a board that the public's money is protected. He wants to know where the funds go. This is designed to formulate what questions to ask the guild."

The committee's first meeting is scheduled for Tuesday. According to Marten, the 2004 contribution would typically be sent to the Jockeys' Guild in February.