08/12/2008 11:00PM

Fairmount riders get pay increase


Mount fees paid to jockeys at Fairmount Park have been increased by $10, from $45 to $55, in races at the downstate Illinois tracks with purses of less than $10,000. As part of the new fee scale, third-place finishers in such races will receive $60, up from $55.

The mount-fee increase was approved by the local chapter of the Illinois Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. The agreement between Fairmount horsemen and jockeys stood in stark contrast with the circumstances in Chicago earlier this year, when jockeys and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association fought a pitched and occasionally bitter battle through the spring as riders in Chicago sought to raise base mount fees.

The Fairmount mount-fee increase is the latest in a series of such pay hikes for riders at jurisdictions across the country, and is part of a concerted effort by the Jockeys' Guild to update riders' wages. Mount fees also have recently been raised in New York, California, Florida, and Indiana.