03/16/2015 1:55PM

Parx jockeys threaten to sit out

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Approximately 50 jockeys have notified management at Parx racetrack outside Philadelphia that they will not ride beginning this weekend unless the track rescinds a demand that jockeys indemnify Parx as part of a new insurance policy, according to the Jockeys’ Guild.

The Guild said in a release on Monday that the jockeys refusing to ride are based at Parx and at tracks in the Philadelphia region. If the figure is accurate, Parx is likely to have difficulty filling races for its Saturday card, the first scheduled after a Wednesday deadline for riders to sign up for the track’s new insurance.

Michael Ballezzi, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said on Monday that he is attempting to negotiate a solution to the dispute between management and riders, and that trainers will not name riders on their horses until the matter is settled.

“At this time, that is what we are doing,” Ballezzi said. “We’ll take entries, and hopefully we’ll get it resolved, but if they don’t want to ride, we will honor that.”

The dispute between Parx and its riders began late last year, when Parx distributed a form to jockeys indemnifying the track in the event of an accident. The form stated that jockeys would not be able to ride at the track unless they signed, but it was rescinded by Parx after riders objected and legal counsel for the jockeys got involved.

Late last month, Parx told riders that they would be required to sign two forms in order to be eligible for a new insurance policy that goes into effect on March 19. The first was an acknowledgement that they accepted the terms of the new policy, and the second was a waiver indemnifying the track. Riders have so far refused to accept the indemnification language.

Negotiations between legal counsel for riders and Parx management on removing the disputed language have gone nowhere over the past three weeks, according to riders’ representatives. Parx officials have not returned repeated phone calls since the dispute arose. Aside from the waiver requirement, the ontrack insurance policy going into effect on Thursday is typical for racetracks across the country, with $1 million in medical coverage and $200,000 in coverage for accidental death and dismemberment.

Vince Piscitelli More than 1 year ago
ATTN Parx Horsmen! I am willing to ride regardless of the waiver. Please Tweet me or call (you all have my number) 24/7. I can meet you in the a.m. any morning for training. Vince P
D'Funnybone More than 1 year ago
Could this actually be the real beginning of the end of Parx? I live in NY, and Parx usually runs on NYRA's dark days, and I can't, and neither do most horseplayers I know, play the races @ Parx. So much chicanery goes on at this venue, it's worse than most harness tracks USED to be. Long list of suspended trainers and jocks alike, would rather see horses compete at dilapidated and now shuttered Atlantic City racetrack than at Parx.
Chris Garrity More than 1 year ago
If Parx cancels races nobody cares about, does it make a sound?
Sheldon Gl More than 1 year ago
http://pro.drf.com/entries/track/PRX/country/USA/date/03-21-2015 Entries for Sat have maybe 4 riders listed. Most likely exercise riders who are risking their lives for a few extra bucks.....Parx should be sued for just trying to race on Saturday with riders who haven't ridden in years, or ever.
Sheldon Gl More than 1 year ago
I think Parx has the highest takeout in ALL horse racing....Turf not Paradise is a close second...
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
In Philadelphia this St Paddys' Day, I hope all have a laughing, loving memory of Phil Finn, probably the funniest guy ever to work the Pressboxes in Philly and Jersey. Seep smiling folks, when you get to the Pearly Gates it may just be Phil who greets you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With the high takeouts at PARX I could care less about there racing.
mikeg More than 1 year ago
You mean you COULDN'T care less.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Parx has no interest in racing.They have poker, slots making money faster than the horses can run.
tommy More than 1 year ago
I would rather bet on dog races at Tampa than at parx lol!!
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Parx is the problem, not the Riders. Jocks have been producing in Bensalem, Pa long before Greenwood and Parx showed up.
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Hey Parx... No Racing, no slots!