12/29/2003 1:00AM

Philadelphia jocks refuse to ride


Racing was canceled at Philadelphia Park on Monday when the jockeys refused to ride because they were unhappy about the track's payment schedule for riding fees.

Tony Black, a veteran member of the jockey colony at Philadelphia Park, said that in the last two months, eight scheduled pay periods have been delayed.

Hal Handel, the CEO at Philadelphia Park, said Monday that several months ago new procedures were implemented for post-race testing on horses, and as a result samples sometimes aren't cleared for up to eight days, compared to 72 hours under the old system. Philadelphia Park doesn't release money owed to jockeys until the samples have been cleared. Black said Philadelphia Park is the only track that operates that way.

"In 33 years, I have had three horses I rode come back positive at other tracks and I had to refund the money," Black said. "We want them to designate a payday like other tracks do. The straw that broke the camel's back was that losing mounts, which have nothing to do with testing, haven't been paid since Dec. 21. These kids are having a hardship making ends meet."

Handel said, "We are not at all happy about this, but we are hopeful we will race [Tuesday]."