By T. D. Thornton
The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) on Monday unanimously voted to change the licensing procedure for jockey agents by removing the long-standing requirement for an applicant to have been previously licensed as an exercise rider, jockey, assistant trainer or trainer for at least one year.
The change now allows the stewards to determine whether an applicant is qualified based on experience, background and knowledge.
TDN first reported on this restrictive practice in 2020, describing the then-current version of the rule as “arbitrary, insular and protectionist, ensuring that the path of many bright young people trying to get into the sport will be blocked, and that only insiders can play.”
The NYSGC also unanimously approved a second rule change that eliminates the need for jockeys to be weighed with muzzles, martingales and breastplates. Florida, Kentucky, California, and other states had long ago dropped weighing requirements related to that type of equipment.
A voided claim adjudication from the recent Saratoga Race Course meet was also on the Oct. 3 agenda.
Commissioner Peter Moschetti Jr. had been designated by the NYSGC to decide the matter and affirmed that the Aug. 24 decision by the Saratoga stewards to void the $25,000 claim of Lil Commissioner (Field Commission) from the eighth race would be upheld.
The appeal to try and get the claim to stand was brought by Lil Commissioner's then-owners, Sanford Goldfarb and Alan Khan (trainer Philip Antonacci). Lil Commissioner ran fifth, beaten 11 1/4 lengths that day. Neither the testimony at Monday's commission meeting nor the Equibase chart for the race state which owner and trainer had dropped the claim that was voided.
Executive director Robert Williams read into the record that Moschetti determined that the stewards had voided the claim “after personnel at the test barn dismissed Lil Commissioner in the mistaken belief that the horse had not been claimed. Commissioner Moschetti determined that although the appellants were not at fault, the stewards did not abuse their discretion in voiding the claim, since the horse had left the test barn before being examined by a state veterinarian as required…and had been briefly out of the presence of commission officials…”
Although it was not discussed at Monday's meeting, Lil Commissioner subsequently was entered and claimed for $16,000 at Aqueduct Racetrack Sept. 17. He was eased to last in that race, beaten 48 1/2 lengths. Trainer Antonio Arriaga dropped the claim slip on behalf of owner The Players Group.