07/07/2003 12:00AM

Trainers may ask signal hike


ARCADIA, Calif. - The California Thoroughbred Trainers are considering approaching the state's racetracks in coming days with a request to raise interstate simulcasting rates as a way to offset escalating costs for workers' compensation insurance.

Trainers are attempting to reduce the costs of covering jockeys in races, an amount that currently varies for individual trainers. Some trainers pay as little as $70 per mount, while others are being charged as much as $172.

At a two-hour meeting on Monday at a local hotel, a group of approximately 60 trainers discussed options with representatives of the Jockey's Guild. Dr. L. Wayne Gertmenian, the president and chief executive of the Guild, suggested that trainers approach the racetracks seeking a portion of revenue from simulcasting to go toward insurance.

Trainers want jockeys taken off their policies. That would require legislation or a court ruling, both of which could take years, trainers were told.

Ed Halpern, executive director of the CTT, said three racing associations contacted him recently to discuss ways of reducing workers' compensation costs. He said ideas have included redirecting money from existing sources and raising the takeout, an idea that was met with resistance from the betting public when it was introduced last year.