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A Montana Racing Fan from Maryland

February 5, 2007     E-mail this page to a friend!

Without trying to fault those in charge of securing insurance bids, I wonder it they have any contacts with other racing fairs to see how they are handling this insurance issue. Has anyone contacted the other small racing fairs and racemeets to determine how they obtain adequate jockey insurance coverage? I'm talking about places like Union, Prineville, Tillamook, Burns in Oregon. Sun Downs, Walla Walla, Waitsburg, Dayton in Washington. Or St. Johns, Duncan, Safford, Douglas, Sonoita, Rillito, Kingman, Globe in Arizona.

I've made a hobby out of visiting all the different racetracks (85+ to date), and choose these small fair race meets every time over the more established (commercial) tracks. I'm very passionate regarding the survival of racing at these fair-type meets.

There is some more information that leads one to believe that some local government officals were just looking for an excuse to discontinue racing. While jockey insurance is certainly an very important finacial consideration regarding the viability of a race meet, I recall the Horse Racing Task force met and secured with the Governor of Montana a budget amount somewhere around $375,000 to be used for supporting horseracing in Montana over the next two years. This amount would help until more-permanent funding was secured. If one considers 40 days of racing in 2007 (and it will likely be significantly less), then each race day would have an extra $4375 available for insurance, purse supplements, etc. With this amount, The WMF would already be in better financial shape than it was in 2006.

Another statement that did not make sense is that there were considerations for helping the fair, which was expected to lose revenue. Any expected help would have to be significant, and that help could have easily been directed to the horseracing operation!

In an related area, I heard that some folks in Browning have a half-mile track and would like to have parimutuel racing. How are their efforts to do this going? And are there any rumors of others wanting to bring back racing (Shelby, Kalispel, others) with the newly available state funding? And what about the results of the Economic study?

Let's hope with enough of the right actions it is still early enough to reverse the decision to suspend racing for 2007. I noticed the other reader's comments and of particular interest was the gentleman from Prineville, OR. Those reponsible for insurance should contact MOC in San Franscisco for a rate, and they should see if ALL the Montana dates (GF, YD, Miles City, and any others) could be covered in one policy.

Chris Davis
Williamsport, MD