09/05/2007 11:00PM

Meyocks hired by Jockeys' Guild


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Jockeys' Guild has hired a consulting firm headed by former racetrack executives Terry Meyocks and Phil O'Hara to manage the organization, and Meyocks will serve as the guild's new national manager, the Guild and Meyocks said on Thursday.

The management contract with Meyocks & O'Hara Enterprises has a term of two years, according to Meyocks, who will replace the coin dealer and former sports agent Dwight Manley as the guild's national manager. O'Hara, a former executive at Penn National Racecourse and Equibase, will assist Meyocks in a consulting role.

Prior to co-founding the consulting firm, Meyocks was employed by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. He was formerly the chief operating officer of the New York Racing Association, but was forced out of the position as part of a management shake-up in 2004 related to NYRA's negotiations over the acceptance of a deferred-prosecution agreement.

Meyocks's father, Paul, was a jockey agent, and Meyock's son, Kevin, is also a jockey agent, based in Florida. Meyock's daughter Abby is married to jockey Javier Castellano.

On Wednesday, Manley said that he had submitted his resignation from the guild after 15 months in the position. Manley was hired eight months after the guild's board fired its former chief executive, L. Wayne Gertmenian, amid criticism of his handling of the guild's financial affairs over his four-year tenure.

Meyocks said that he had not yet done a detailed analysis of the guild's financial statements, but that he was scheduled to visit the guild's offices in Monrovia, Calif., beginning Wednesday, for a week. Meyocks said he is scheduled to meet with the guild's independent auditors while in California.

The guild has approximately 1,100 riders as members. The organization provides health insurance to its members and payments to disabled riders, as well as representing jockeys on a variety of issues. Funding is provided by fees on a riders' mounts, along with some payments from the racing industry.

The organization's relationship with the industry reached a nadir under Gertmenian, who took a confrontational approach to his negotiations with racetracks over the fees the tracks pay to the guild under a contract based on riders' media rights. Gertmenian also aggressively pushed the idea that riders are employees of racetracks, despite numerous court rulings that riders are independent contractors.

When asked whether he believed jockeys are independent contractors, Meyocks declined to comment. "I don't want to say anything about that until I talk with more people," Meyocks said.

Meyocks said that his goal for the guild is to "work with the industry in a spirit of cooperation."

Meyocks, a resident of Lexington, also said that he would explore relocating the guild's office back to Lexington, where it was located until Gertmenian was hired in 2001. Gertmenian was a resident of California.