Updated on 09/15/2011 12:29PM

Day resigns from Guild


Jockey Pat Day has resigned as the president and a member of the Jockeys' Guild, citing "strong, distinct philosophical differences" with other Guild members and the executive committee's recent decision to fire the organization's entire staff.

Day said Wednesday that he mailed his resignation letter to every member of the Guild's board on June 21, five days after the Guild fired its entire office staff and its six regional directors and accepted the resignation of its national manager for the past 14 years, John Giovanni.

Earlier that week, the Guild's executive committee had announced that it had brought in Matrix Capital Associates, a California-based management consulting firm, to run the operation on an interim basis.

Day would not elaborate on his reasons for resigning, but he said that he "hopes and believes that the new management will do a very good job." When asked why he would resign if he believed Matrix would succeed, Day reiterated that he had "strong, distinct philosophical differences" with other members.

The other members of the Guild's executive committee are jockeys Mike McCarthy, Tomey Swan, Larry Melancon, Anthony Black, and Jerry Bailey. Those jockeys are also among a group of 27 riders that sits on a board of directors divided among three geographical regions.

Day said his resignation would not affect his personal or competitive relationships with other jockeys. "I don't anticipate that, and I wish the new management, the executive committee, and the board of directors all the success in the world," Day said.

Dr. L. Wayne Gertmenian, who heads Matrix Capital, said Wednesday that Matrix officials are currently answering the needs of jockeys who have been making inquiries to the Guild the past two weeks. Gertmenian said many jockeys have been calling to ask about their health insurance, and that Matrix employees are "making sure that anyone who has a problem is taken care of immediately."

On April 1 of this year, the Guild canceled a health insurance policy it had previously purchased to cover members' families, citing an increase in premiums of 43 percent. The cancellation of the policy was described by current Guild directors as being the impetus for the wholesale management changes.

Gertmenian, who said he has known jockeys Alex Solis, Chris McCarron, and Laffit Pincay Jr. socially for several years, said he was approached by several Guild directors recently about taking over the Guild's operations on an interim basis.

"They came to me and they said that if the Guild had a change in management, would I help," Gertmenian said. "And I said, 'Of course I would.' "

Gertmenian said his staff is working on behalf of the Guild on a pro bono basis, although Matrix is getting compensated for out-of-pocket expenses. Matrix will manage the Guild's operations until December, Gertmenian said, when it hopes to have developed a strategic business plan.

"We've got to get our hands around this thing first, and then we have to start investigating the possibility of finding insurance and a nationwide pension plan for these guys, because this is nuts," he said. "I don't think I've ever seen a group of superstar athletes get treated as bad as this. I'm just appalled."