Guild: Insurance Snafu Settled, Lone Star a 'Go' for Saturday



Lone Star Park appears ready to resume racing on Saturday, July 16, after the Thursday and Friday programs this week had to be scrapped over jockeys' concerns that a million-dollar insurance policy secured by the track was not sufficient to provide specialized medical care in the event of on-track accidents.

Terry Meyocks, the president and chief executive officer of the Jockeys' Guild, confirmed to TDN shortly after 6:00 p.m. Eastern time Friday that, “We're good to go on Saturday. We got the assurances that the jocks will be comfortable with.”

Issues over the insurance policy at Lone Star first surfaced after jockey Carlos Montalvo suffered head injuries there in a July 4 racing spill.

A Paulick Report story earlier this week stated that Montalvo claimed he was unable to find a medical specialist willing to honor the accident policy purchased by Lone Star's parent company, Global Gaming, even though that policy is nearly identical to others around the nation that do provide sufficient coverage. The issue reportedly had to do with surgeons and other doctors wanting to get paid up-front rather than waiting for insurance claims to be processed.

When the Lone Star riding colony couldn't ascertain that the policy would provide sufficient coverage moving forward, they opted as a group not to ride the Thursday, July 14, races. Track management attempted to work with the insurance underwriter on Friday to rectify the situation, but when that didn't happen by late afternoon, Lone Star itself called off the July 15 program.

Asked what fundamental changes were made to satisfy the jockeys that they would get proper care, Meyocks declined the opportunity to elaborate.

“I think we're going to keep that to ourselves. But the jocks are comfortable with it,” Meyocks said.

“Lone Star has done everything they can to work with and correct the situation,” Meyocks said. “It's just one of those situations that maybe the system needs to be looked at and further explained. But we haven't had this situation anywhere else, and I don't know if it's just timing, or whatever. But we got it corrected, and hopefully it will be a positive [development] for the future that we can take nationwide, which is what we've been talking about for the last four or five years.”

Although Lone Star itself had yet to make an official announcement in time for the deadline for this story, it appears as if Saturday's “Summer Turf Festival” and Sunday's “Stars of Texas” programs featuring nine total stakes will go as scheduled, with post times both days at noon Eastern.

That's welcome news to Lone Star horse people, who had already been reeling in the aftermath of a Texas Racing Commission decision not to comply with the July 1 Horse Racing and Integrity Safety Act (HISA) rules activation.

That decision not to align with HISA put Texas out of compliance with new interstate simulcasting requirements that HISA is using as a cudgel of compliance. So the commission then had to order that the signal from the state's tracks could not be exported out of state and that advance deposit wagering companies could not take betting on Texas races.

Trainer Karl Broberg, a perennial leader at Lone Star and a resident of Texas, had 10 horses entered at Lone Star on the combined Thursday and Friday programs. None of them got to race because of the insurance uncertainty.

“This is a no-win situation for me,” Broberg told TDN. “I'm obviously disgusted that it came to this. My guess is that it probably could have been handled better by both sides. But in light of what Texas horsemen have already been dealing with, with regard to such an uncertain future with HISA and how they plan on dealing with it going forward, this is pretty painful.

“But by the same token, I do feel bad [about] the insurance and medical care that Montalvo received,” Broberg said. “It sure seems like there were some failures in getting him in at the right hospital, where if that had been handled correctly from the beginning, none of this probably transpires.”

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