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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cold Wind, Cold Shoulders

For a few hours Saturday morning, the doors to the Woodbine jocks room were locked. Not one rider was allowed in.
This was because the previous afternoon, the Woodbine jockeys colony voted to cancel racing following four races due to high winds.
From all reports, this decision was not acceptable to Woodbine's president and vice-president David Willmot and Jim Ormiston.
Soon after 11a.m. Saturday, after meetings with Willmot and the H.B.P.A., the jockeys were allowed back in and all had signed a document reportedly detailing when they could and could not cancel races.
Indeed, cancellation of whole and partial cards due to weather and track conditions have plagued Woodbine for many years.
With the very expensive addition of the all-weather Polytrack surface, track conditions should never be a factor again.
But what about Mother Nature?
Certainly, wind gusts are a problem in the Woodbine area, locatec close to the Leaster B. Pearson Airport.
But certainly, the number of cancelled cards due to wind conditions in the last 2 seasons has been hard to take. Friday was one of those days.
Asked for comments on the incident, several riders offered "no comment" or simply ignored the questions.


  • At 9:29 PM, Blogger Ruben Bailey said…

    jeez. another example of the need for anything resembling a "jockey's union."

    "singing a document" on the spot...sounds unprofessional and shady.

    I really am waiting for the jocks of NA to actually band together and make some real gains in the field of workers rights/compensation/insurance, etc....

    Thanks for the post. I didn't see this anywhere else, which doesn't mean it wasn't, but with the trusty RSS feed.....!!!

  • At 3:34 PM, Blogger Tote Board Brad said…

    wow. thanks for this. good unreported coverage.

    It does seem like management was a bit heavy handed here. Jockey's usually don't make up reasons not to ride, as it's their livelihood, too, at stake. I tend to trust the riders absent other facts. Was there something else going on here? Something like when riders cited unsafe conditions when the issue was really a lack of insurance coverage at Churchill owned tracks? Does track management or anyone else believe that the jockeys were not being honest about why they decided not to ride?

    Absent some alterial motive, I'd have to trust the jockeys in such situations.

  • At 7:49 PM, Blogger Jen Morrison said…

    Thanks for the comments guys..

    I appreciate Tote Board Brad's opinion here as I have always given the riders the benefit of the doubt. However, what must be said is that, with such a small colony at Woodbine and very large purses, everyone gets their fair share and then some. The winds were not strong on this particular day but it was very cold and several of the leading riders would rather not participate and yet, not be the ones to book off and look like the goats.
    More often than not, the reasons are good.
    i do know that there will be an issue soon between the Woodbine jocks and insurance, that is sure to come. But for now, friday's decision to cancel was made by some people who have too much money. At least that is the general opinion.


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