11/07/2014 3:40PM

Parx jockeys to ride despite opposition to waiver


Jockeys were expected to ride at Parx racetrack outside Philadelphia this weekend after representatives of the Jockeys’ Guild met Friday with track management and reported progress on resolving a dispute over a waiver the track distributed to riders this week, according to the head of the Guild.

Terry Meyocks, the national manager of the Guild, said after the five-hour meeting Friday that the talks were “positive,” even if the matter remains unresolved as yet.

“Hopefully, we’ll come up with a mutual resolution,” Meyocks said. “I think everything will be fine for this weekend.”

The Jockeys’ Guild urged its members not to sign the waiver after it was distributed in the jockeys’ room Tuesday and sent a letter to the track Thursday claiming that Parx had no legal right to distribute the waiver.

“Please be advised that the Guild will resist any attempt by you to enforce these terms against our members,” the letter stated. Parx agreed to meet with Guild officials on Thursday night.

The waiver indemnifies Parx from any damages arising from an injury or death at the track, and it was distributed to everyone who works with horses at the track, including trainers and backstretch workers, according to officials. The waiver says that anyone who does not agree to its terms will not be allowed on the track.

Parx is scheduled to race live on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Track officials have not returned phone calls seeking comment.

The waiver was distributed several months after a Philadelphia appeals court upheld an April judgment against Parx requiring the track to pay the family of Mario Calderon $7.8 million. Calderon, an exercise rider, died of injuries he sustained in May 2010, when a horse he was taking to the track was allegedly spooked by chickens on the backside, throwing him. 

Parx has a $1 million insurance policy covering the cost of medical bills for jockeys injured on the racetrack. The policy also includes payouts for accidental death or dismemberment.