03/29/2004 12:00AM

Guild seeks higher weight for jockeys


ALBANY, Calif. - Dr. David Seftel, the track physician at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows, and the Jockeys' Guild are leading a two-pronged attack geared at raising minimum weight levels for jockeys in the state.

Guild representative Barry Broad and Seftel spoke at last Thursday's California Horse Racing Board meeting, offering a proposal for minimum weight of 118 pounds for Thoroughbreds and Arabians, and 123 for Appaloosas, paints, Quarter Horses, and mules. Under the proposal, jockeys would be weighed while stripped, and all horses would carry 10 pounds of protective gear, including the jockey's safety helmet and safety vest. The minimum weight jockeys carry in most races now is 116 pounds.

Broad said jockeys "are doing things to themselves that are terrible" and that the guild is starting its campaign in California "because this is a state that has always cooperated with jockeys and where we can get something done."

Seftel carried the proposal further by saying testing of body fat should be instituted for health reasons. He said that jockeys should be required to maintain at least 5 percent body fat, which he said is similar to what the governing bodies for cyclists and gymnasts require.

Seftel cited statistics about the dangers of weight-reduction practices by jockeys, saying they lead to "dehydration, malnutrition, and diminished immunity."

"Total body-fat measurement provides an objective and easy way to measure jockey physical health," Seftel said.

Local riders say the move makes sense.

"It might sound crazy, but that two pounds means a lot and will make us stronger, too," Chance Rollins said. "I don't know much about body fat, but I want these guys to be healthy. I don't want them to lose all their energy in the [hot] box."

Radke leads by six in jockey race

Kevin Radke has built up a six-victory lead in the jockey race over Rollins with one week remaining in the Golden Gate Fields meet. Both will ride only four days this week and will be gone Saturday to ride in the Illinois Derby. Rollins will ride El Camino Real Derby winner Kilgowan, while Radke takes over on O.K. Mikie, a fast-finishing fourth in the El Camino.

"This would be the biggest accomplishment of my career," Radke said of winning the jockey title.

Rollins, who has 79 wins to Radke's 85, said: "I've had a hell of a meet. I haven't really thought a lot about the jockey race, but it would be great. If I could have my choice of the two, I'd rather win [the Illinois Derby] than the jockey race."

Deja Voodoo unhurt after running off

Deja Voodoo, a 4-year-old gelding who ran fourth in his debut on March 14, is a tough customer.

He broke loose during training at Golden Gate Fields last week, bolted through the barn area and out the stable gate. Fortunately, he did not go up the on-ramp to a busy freeway, but he ran nearly two miles along a frontage road, banging into a truck during his misadventure.

Golden Gate Fields security chased him in a pickup truck before finally catching him.

He reportedly suffered no injuries.

Royal Teresa faces seven in feature

Royal Teresa, who just scored a wire-to-wire victory against similar in her Golden Gate Fields debut, has seven rivals in Wednesday's feature race, a $25,000 turf claimer for 4-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

Earlier on the card, in another turf race, new starter-allowance rules take effect as Flirt With Danger, who is 2 for 2 here, picks up seven pounds and will have to carry 125 in a 1 1/8-mile turf race for older fillies and mares. The rules add weight after each victory to make the claim-proof races more competitive.

Remember Sheikh dies in Ohio

Remember Sheikh, the 2000 El Camino Real Derby winner, died earlier this month after shipping to Ohio following a fifth-place finish in a bottom-level $3,200 race here on March 7. He never won a race after the El Camino Real.

He reportedly was colicky when he arrived in Ohio after a van trip and was found dead the next morning.

* Jockeys Chad Schvaneveldt, third in the Golden Gate Fields standings, and Francisco Duran, tied for 11th, have switched agents. Dennis Patterson will now represent Schvaneveldt, and Roger Olguin will book mounts for Duran.