The California Thoroughbred Business League (CTBL), responsible for overseeing funds utilized for providing workers’ compensation insurance relief to horsemen, has seen steadily increasing workers’ compensation rates in the state of California.
The cost of the 2019 program is expected to increase by 3% over 2018, or by more than $13.7 million for Thoroughbreds.
Per-start fees will be increased from $100 to $106 to cover the owners’ portion of funding. As before, the per-start fee will be automatically deducted from the owner’s paymaster account every time that owner starts a horse, effective Jan. 1.
The Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) board voted unanimously to increase Guaranteed Participation Purses by $6 per start to offset the costs.
In addition, starting Jan. 1, owners of horses who finish fifth or beyond – whenever their share of purse money is less than the Guaranteed Participation Purse – will be paid $300 per start at Golden Gate Fields and $351 per start at Southern California tracks to include increased costs for third party Lasix administration and jockey fees.
Three sources of revenue are utilized to cover workers’ compensation costs in California, according to Brad McKinzie of the Finish Line Self Insurance Group, which has managed workers’ compensation accounts for Thoroughbred horsemen in California since 2011.
Owners pay a fee per starter to cover jockeys, trainers pay a daily fee to cover exercise riders and stable staff, and one-half of 1 percent of the takeout on handle from exotic wagers on California races is dedicated to a fund to pay workers’ compensation costs.
Legislation passed in 2004 allowed for the increase in takeout to offset worker’s compensation costs.
The deduction from takeout amounts to approximately $6.5 million annually, McKinzie said. Owners and trainers pay the remaining costs. The fee paid by a trainer amounts to approximately $100 per month per horse in their stables.
The TOC is part of the California Thoroughbred Business League, a consortium of racetracks, horsemen’s groups, and fair organizations that oversees a program to provide workers’ compensation subsidies to owners. The Finish Line Group has handled workers’ compensation for Thoroughbred horsemen in California since 2011. McKinzie founded the Finish Line Group. He is also the general manager of the Los Alamitos Thoroughbred meetings.