I am most appreciative of jockeys. The only athletes who have a tougher life than jockeys are steeplechase jockeys. They are insanely brave.
Riders struggle mightily to make a decent living. A handful at the top make a great deal of money, and the rest of them are scrapping for every dime they can get. This leads me to the Jockeys' Guild. This is an organization that has had one of the most bizarre, nonsensical journeys in the history of unions or collective bargaining. If the chronology of the Jockey’s Guild in the last five years were to be chronicled in a movie script, you would say the absurdity of it all would have been unbelievably exaggerated.
The jockeys have squabbled and reacted like the Keystone Cops, under the direction of their recent Guild Leader, Dr. Wayne Gertmenian. This man was responsible for canceling their insurance, unbeknownst to most of them, oddly enough; and for years it was clear to many that he was doing a lousy job.
After applauding the jockeys for getting rid of this character, they have now hired a rare coin collector and sports agent named Dwight Manley, and he is the one who is expected to lead the Guild out of the wilderness. His main claim to fame is that he made a major score with a rare coin discovery in the Atlantic Ocean. Following this, he became the sports agent for Dennis Rodman, perhaps not the greatest example of class in athletics. On top of this, he has sought the counsel of Rev. Jesse Jackson, one of the greatest rabble-rousers in the history of the world. Manley’s next qualification is that he knows nothing of Thoroughbred horse racing.
Unbelievable though it may be, it seems that the jockeys have jumped out of the frying pan straight into the fire.
I wish the jockeys well. They deserve insurance, and they deserve a good life. They earn their money. They risk life and limb daily, but the direction the Jockeys' Guild has taken makes an onlooker lose patience with their manner of bringing stability to their organization.
It is quite predictable that Jesse Jackson’s counsel will be toward a disruption in the industry of Thoroughbred racing, and God knows that industry – as wonderful as it is – can hardly stand any more disruption!