OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association and New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association are starting a program that will make it less expensive for owners and trainers to race at the Aqueduct winter and spring meets from Dec. 6 through March 31.
The “per-start credit” program will help offset worker’s compensation costs and assure owners and trainers, including those that ship in, of at least $300 per starter. The payments will come in the form of a credit that will be applied to any outstanding balance owed to the New York Jockey Injury Compensation Fund, which provides workers’ compensation insurance for jockeys and exercise riders.
“The goal is to increase field size and offer the best racing product possible,” said Chris Kay, NYRA’s CEO and president.
Under the program, owners will earn a minimum of $300 per start for horses who finish sixth through last in their races. Trainers will earn the $300 per start credit when their horses finish fourth through last.
“NYTHA has long been a proponent of this and any program that might make the cost of doing business in New York a little less prohibitive,” said Rick Violette Jr., president of NYTHA. “The funds will be used to help defray the ever-rising cost of workers’ compensation insurance coverage for the jockeys and the exercise riders. While this is not an answer to the workers’ compensation crisis, it will help horsemen in the short term.”