11/30/2007 1:00AM

California to create new insurance plan

EmailThe California Horse Racing Board on Thursday informally approved the creation of a fund to provide jockeys and former jockeys and their families with health insurance.

The plan, called the California Jockeys Trust, would be funded by uncashed parimutuel tickets and administered by a five-person board consisting of members of the Jockeys’ Guild and the Thoroughbred Owners of California. It would replace the current health insurance plan, which is administered by the Jockeys’ Guild.

The board told representatives from the guild and TOC to start setting up the trust immediately, anticipating that the plan would take effect on Jan. 1. Because board members had not had time to review the details of the plan, formal approval was put off, likely until the Dec. 14 board meeting.

The new plan will cover health, vision, dental, and disability.

Former jockey Ron Warren, whose career was cut short by a racing accident, did much of the research into the insurance plan, said Jockeys’ Guild and TOC members, and he is expected to be one of the fund’s board members.

In other actions at the Thursday board meeting, conducted in Davis, Calif., the board granted approval to conduct account wagering for one year to Twinspires.com and its affiliated sites Winticket, BrisBet, and tsnBet, as well as to TVG, Youbet, and Xpressbet. The approval is contingent on the account-wagering companies agreeing to recognize any union formed through what is known as a “card-check.”

* The board approved a new wager to be offered at the upcoming Santa Anita meet. To win, a bettor must select the top five finishers in a race in order. It will carry over on days when it is not hit.

* Racing dates for three upcoming meets were approved for Santa Anita, Golden Gate Fields, and Los Alamitos. The Golden Gate Fields approval was contingent upon presentation of a signed agreement with the Thoroughbred Owners of California.

Santa Anita will run Dec. 26 to April 20, 2008; Golden Gate from Dec. 26 to Feb. 3, 2008; and Los Alamitos from Dec. 27 to Dec. 21, 2008.

* The board also put out for public comment a rule that requires the scratch of a newly gelded horse who has not been reported as gelded to the racing office by scratch time.