The jockey who finishes second in Friday's $100,000 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita will receive $1,000 for his efforts. A year ago, his share of the purse would have been $400.
Any jockey who hits the board with a horse on opening day at Santa Anita will benefit from the new fee schedule that was approved by the California Horse Racing Board and becomes effective Friday at all state thoroughbred tracks.
Winning rides are not affected; jockeys will still receive 10% of the winning owner's share of the purse. In the Malibu, not counting owners' nomination, entry and starting fees--which boost the total purse higher than $100,000--the winning jockey will receive about $5,500, which is 10% of the estimated $55,000 for first place.
The dramatic difference in the new fee schedule is for jockeys who finish second and third. In California, these rides used to be worth between $60 and $400, depending on the size of the purse. Starting Friday, a jockey will receive a flat 5% of the owners' purse share for a second or third.
Owners also receive purse money if their horses run fourth or fifth, but all jockeys will continue to get are mount fees, which are based on the size of the total purse and go to a jockey for just riding in the race. At Santa Anita, mount fees range between $45 and $100.
Roughly, jockeys finishing in the money for the nine races Friday will earn $20,000, which is an increase of about 33% over the old fee schedule.
While the jockeys are obviously pleased, the owners see the increases as just another drain from a coffer they say was never large to begin with. The California division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Assn., which represents owners and trainers, estimates that more than 90% of its owners, paying $50 a day and upwards just to keep one horse in training, don't make money.
Nick Jemas, the recently retired managing director of the Jockeys' Guild who sold the new fee schedule to a number of states besides California, argues that it had been several years since the fee schedule had been changed and a raise was long overdue. The guild has estimated that the new schedule will result in California jockeys earning about $860,000 more in 1987 than they did in 1985.
"The 5% of the purse for second and third means more in California than it does in most states," said Don Johnson, a horse owner and officer with the California HBPA. "Jockeys will get 5% only for races worth $10,000 or more, but at Santa Anita, that's every race. In some states, there aren't that many races over $10,000."
For major stakes races, some owners have been known to pay 10% of their purse to a jockey no matter where the horse finishes. In the 1985 Budwesier Arlington Million, Bill Shoemaker, given a choice between horses of virtually equal ability, picked Robert Sangster's The Noble Player over Nelson Bunker Hunt's Dahar because Sangster paid the 10% all the way down the line and Hunt didn't. The Noble Player ran fifth, earning $3,000 for Shoemaker A fifth-place finish aboard Dahar, who ran ninth, would have netted Shoemaker $100.
Of course, at the level of Shoemaker and jockeys such as Chris McCarron, there can be perks beyond a mere fee schedule. Both jockeys have received breeding interests in horses they rode, Shoemaker in Lord at War, winner of the 1985 Santa Anita Handicap, and McCarron in Turkoman, one of this year's top handicap performers.
The new fee schedule, which means a 60% increase for the jockey who finishes second in the Malibu, could also have a reverse effect. Horse owners may not be as free with those perks.
There will be several close calls this year for the 294 turf writers, racing secretaries and Daily Racing Form representatives who vote for the Eclipse Awards, and one of these is the selection of the outstanding jockey.
In 13 of the 15 years the Eclipse has been given to a jockey, the winner was either the national leader in purses or wins, or both. The two exceptions were Braulio Baeza in 1972 and Shoemaker--somewhat due to noblesse oblige--in 1981.
This year, the purse list comes with qualifications. Jose Santos is the leader with $11.2 million, but he is out for the year with a back injury and Gary Stevens will be trying to overtake him in the final days of the 1986 at Santa Anita. Even if Stevens succeeds, many of the voters, whose selections must be received in New York by Jan. 5, may send in their ballots before the end of the year.
McCarron is fifth on the purse list with $9.1 million, but he broke a leg in mid-October and was about $500,000 ahead of Santos at the time.
And McCarron rode 11 major stakes wins this year, three more than Santos and a total matched only by Pat Day.
Also a contender is Day, who, with more than 425 winners, will win that title by almost 100. Day has won with 30% of his mounts, one of the highest percentages in years.
Horse Racing Notes
Harry Silbert, who started representing Bill Shoemaker when the jockey began riding in 1949, has been hospitalized, and Bill Barisoff is now booking Shoemaker's mounts. . . . All of the Eclipse Awards except Horse of the Year will be announced on Jan. 6. The Horse of the Year announcement is scheduled for Jan. 30. . . . Snow Chief could pass Lady's Secret as the year's leading earner with at least a second-place finish in the Malibu Stakes. Lady's Secret's total is close to the $1.9 million mark. . . . Hollywood Park declared a quarterly dividend of 40 cents a share, which is consistent with its $1.60 annual dividend in recent years. . . . Canterbury Downs, a track near Minneapolis, reported a $7.9 million loss in this its second year of operation. Santa Anita is a minority partner in Canterbury.