01/05/2005 1:00AM

Calif. may not pay Guild


The Jockeys' Guild will not receive its annual $1 million payment from the state of California until the organization answers "very specific" questions about its finances, said Richard Shapiro, the California Horse Racing Board commissioner who is leading a committee that is looking into the finances of the Jockeys' Guild.

Shapiro's comment came Wednesday, the day after the committee met at Santa Anita, its first gathering since being formed in late December. The six-hour meeting was spent formulating questions to ask the Guild, Shapiro said. A document outlining the concerns of the committee likely will be prepared by Jan. 7 and sent to the Guild, said Shapiro.

Shapiro and other commissioners invited Guild officials to answer questions at a meeting of the California racing board in early December, but Shapiro said that board members were not satisfied with what he called "vague answers" about funding for jockeys' health insurance.

"We want to know that the Guild is solvent, we want to know that the money is there to cover any catastrophic accidents," Shapiro said. "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."

The Jockeys' Guild, a trade organization for jockeys, receives approximately $1 million a year from uncashed tickets in California, typically distributed to the Guild in the first quarter of the year and by state law must be used for jockeys' insurance and to help disabled riders.

Shapiro also said the committee would ask Guild officials how they keep jockeys informed about insurance coverage.

According to the Guild's latest financial filing, in 2002 the organization had revenue of $6.8 million from a combination of sources, including dues from members and payments from racetracks.