05/15/2007 11:00PM

Guild raises disability payments

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The Jockeys' Guild's board of directors has voted to increase the amount of money that temporarily disabled jockeys will receive each week while they are unable to ride, according to officials of the organization.

The disability payments will be increased to $200 a week, according to Dwight Manley, the guild's national manager. For the past 18 months, the disability payments had been $50 a week for jockeys who were injured in a state that covers riders under workers' compensation programs, and $100 in non-workers' compensation states.

Manley said that the guild was able to increase the payments in part because of the recent settlement of a lawsuit with Churchill Downs Inc. As a result of that settlement, Churchill Downs's four tracks have begun making payments to the guild based on the number of mounts by jockeys.

The Guild's board of directors had voted late in 2005 to reduce the disability payments as a result of mounting financial problems.

Manley said that the board voted to make the payments equal for riders in both types of states because of a recommendation from its regional representatives.

"In the regional meetings the reps said it was going to be a sticking point, that the riders in the workers' comp states said they paid the same dues so they should get the same benefits," Manley said. "So we said let's make it fair across the board."