California: Background of Valet-Track Impasse; Wage Demands Deemed as Unrealistic; Old Pueblo Adds Spice to Debonair, Daily Racing Form, 1958-05-09


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California 1 By Oscar Otis Background of ValetTrack Impasse Wage Demands Deemed as Unrealistic Old Pueblo Adds Spice to Debonair DebonairHOLLYWOOD HOLLYWOOD PARK Inglewood Calif May 8 Most everyone who calls himself an oldtimer in racing is well aware of the fundamental changes the sport has undergone on both backstretch and frontside and we dare say that most of these changes have been at once for the better as well as being a practical neces ¬ sity for the growth of the sport and its more widespread public acceptance if indeed not sur ¬ vival In the sport horsemen are racing for purses which are sub vival as against a onetime com ¬ mon practice of certain stables to race primarily to win a bet This purse incentive is racings greatest bulwark And in Operations management has changed from the one man operation to corporate direction which in turn has caused a new employeemployer relationship Cer ¬ tain transitions where old tradition conflicts with this modern concept has on more than one occasion led to bickering which in turn to troubled labor relations such an instance of this occurring in California at the moment where protracted negotiations between the the federated tracks and the valets seem not too much closer to a solution than they were when they started Oppose Plan to Pool Fees Traditionally and in fact the valets have been per sonal employes of the jockeys About 12 years ago it was recognized that under this relationship any man a rider might choose to be his valet was admitted to the jockeys room and under that method it was pos ¬ sible for an undesirable influence to enter the supposed closely guarded area maintained exclusively for the riders In order to effect a measure of control the California tracks decided it would be best to make the valets parttime employes of the association and in so doing paid them a wage which while not a living one 10 per day did augment the far more substan ¬ tial income the valets received from their jockey clients Some of the valets the four or five with the winningest rider admit to earning from 50 per day upwards But they are resisting on five of tfie six California tracks the proposal that the jockeys room be operated on the pool plan whereby 2 per mount paid by the jockeys go into a common pool and split evenly among the valet crew at the end of the day In addition to the pool riders generally pay an extra dollar for a losing ride three extra for a winner to their personal valets The horses are saddled in the paddock by number rotation hence the valet who saddles the mount of a certain rider is not necessarily his own man Friday in the jockey quarters We have gone to considerable detail to outline the situation because of the impasse which has arisen between the valets and management The latter has offered an increase of the 10 per day plus fringe benefits including vacation health benefits and a pen ¬ sion plan The valets for the first time are repre ¬ sented by a union the Building and Service Trades which they joined as a unit with the assistant starters The assistant starters who also are in on the nego ¬ tiations for themselves are so closely in accord with management that this phase should come to an agree ¬ ment most any time But the valets new to union directed negotiations seemingly fail to realize that the whole history of organized labor has been that the first contract is almost always one of mutual recognition and improvements in the agreement are brought about each year when negotiations are reported with both sides giving a little and taking a little This has been the sound basis in collective bargaining and unreason ¬ able demands can work undue hardships not only on the people directly involved but the entire industry industryJockeys Jockeys Side of the Jssue JssueThe The jockeys are sitting this one out lending what ¬ ever assistance tliey can if called upon but in general the riders are said to feel that if management gives the valets all they ask for as employes of management their traditional obligations to the valets wilt cease and they will be relieved of the responsibility to pay the valet anything If this comes to pass the valets wilt be working for far less than they make now And some jockeys feel they arent getting full value received in the way of service This situation is one that is going to have to be settled or racing in California again may be forced to close It is a matter of record that turf history was made in this country when Tanforan be ¬ came the first track ever to be closed by its own people peopleOld Old Pueblo who many rated as the best threeyear old of the winter season at Santa Anita is scheduled to return to racing Saturday in the Debonair a 25000 spin at 6 furlongs and the first of an attractive series of sophomore races that Hollywood Park has carded during his 55day season a series which culminates in the 100000 Westerner at 14 miles July 19 Old Pueblos downfall at Santa Anita caTne about through experimentation with his style of running and although his Santa Anita route efforts were disappointing this corner is not as yet going to condemn him as a mere sprinter He is entitled to another whirl at it His pre ¬ liminary works upon the rapid Hollywood strip hint that he has all his vaunted speed for on April 15 he worked a half mile in 44 handily came back on the 24th with 5 furlongs in 59 breezing It was most disheartening to Old Pueblos connections that thatContinued Continued on fage FortyEight CALIFORNIA CALIFORNIABy By OSCAR OTIS Continued from Page Seven Seventhe the colt was forced to skip the Kentucky Derby but if he can make amends during the Hollywood season we are of the opinion that he will get a chance against the best the East has to offer at Arlington Park In any event his presence in the Debonair Saturday will add considerable spice to Hollyparks first three yearold stakes of ¬ fering of the still young season

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