05/17/2016 3:21PM

Kentucky commission raises jockey fees for losing mounts

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The revamped Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Tuesday approved a new set of regulations that will increase the amount paid to jockeys for losing mounts in races in the state with purses or $50,000 or less.

The approval, by a unanimous vote, was the first direct action taken by the commission since it was revamped at the direction of Gov. Matt Bevin, who took office last December. Last month, Bevin named 11 new members to the commission, which was reduced from 15 members to 12.

The new regulation was crafted under the previous commission, which had worked over the course of eight months on the new pay scale for the designated races, according to Marc Guilfoil, the executive director of the commission. Guilfoil was elevated to executive director from deputy executive director in January, after the former executive director, John Ward, resigned.

“It wasn’t an easy thing to do,” said Guilfoil, of the process to increase the fees, citing the involvement of the commission, the Jockeys’ Guild, Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, and Kentucky Thoroughbred Association in the meetings that hashed out the new rates.

Under the new scale, losing mount fees will increase by $10 for races that have purses lower than $50,000. The losing mount fee for a race with a purse up to $9,999 will be $60; for races with a purse of $10,000 to $14,999, the fee will be $65; from $15,000 to $24,999, the fee will be $70, and from $25,000 to $45,999, the fee will be $80.

Officials of the Jockeys’ Guild said they were pleased with the new rates, which went into effect at the start of the Keeneland Racecourse meet in early April. However, they also pointed out that losing mount fees in Kentucky are still lower than in a number of racing states, including Iowa and Oklahoma.

Also at the meeting, John Forgy was introduced as the new general counsel for the commission, replacing Susan Speckert, who recently resigned to take a position as the head of a land-conservation group based in Fayette County. Forgy had been general counsel to the commission from 2006 to 2009.