Churchill plans to stop paying for riders' off-track benefits

LOUISVILLE — Churchill Downs Inc. plans to stop paying the trade association representing jockeys to fund riders' off-track needs, such as benefits or health insurance coverage that's not related to racing.

Churchill spokeswoman Julie Koenig Loignon told The Courier-Journal that the company's four tracks would continue to pay for an insurance policy that covers jockeys for up to $1 million in medical expenses for on-track injuries.

For off-track concerns, Loignon said, The Jockeys' Guild needs to work with other racing industry members on compensation, benefits and insurance coverage not related to on-track events.

The Louisville-based company's current agreement with the guild expires at the end of the year and provides per-starter and per-race-day fees to the guild.

Terry Meyocks, the guild's national manager, wouldn't discuss the guild's potential responses. "Everything's on the table," he said.

Loignon said the payments in the current agreement were designed to help the guild address off-track needs.

"We are doing our part and paying our fair share, and that's not changing," she said.

Meyocks said payments are used for expenses such as temporary disability insurance and life insurance that are related to on-track incidents. He also said the guild pays for expenses such as co-pays and replacement parts on disabled riders' wheelchairs.