04/12/2005 11:00PM

California board queries Guild

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The California Horse Racing Board has asked the Jockeys' Guild to respond to allegations that the medical bills for more than a dozen riders in the state have gone unpaid and, in some cases, were turned over to a collection agency.

According to Mike Marten, a spokesman for the racing board, commissioner Richard Shapiro sent a letter to the guild seeking an explanation after the board received documents from Ron Warren Jr., a jockey in northern California, about 12 cases in which injured riders have not been compensated for their medical bills.

The guild, a national organization that is based in California, has received approximately $1 million a year from the state to pay for jockeys' health and welfare benefits. California suspended the payments this year after several racing board commissioners raised questions about the guild's finances.

Warren has formed an organization that is seeking to replace the guild as the recipient of the state's health and welfare payment. Guild representatives could not immediately be reached Wednesday.