Delaware Jockeys’ Health and Welfare Benefit Fund
The ‘Fund’ was established by state legislation in 1998 to provide health and welfare benefits for active, disabled, and retired Delaware jockeys as well as their families. The law mandates $350,000 per year be contributed to the Fund, $175,000 from purses and $175,000 from Delaware Park, with the contributions adjusted annually for inflation.
Delaware Jockeys’ Health and Welfare Benefit Board
Under the original law that established the Fund, the money was awarded to the organization that represented the majority of Delaware jockeys. After numerous problems with a national jockeys’ organization managing the Fund, the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission (DTRC), lead by Chairman Bernard Daney and Director John Wayne, successfully lobbied state legislators to change the law and establish a state commissioned Board to oversee the Fund. In 2005, Delaware Governor Ruth Miner signed Senate Bill # 358 into law, thereby creating the Delaware Jockeys Health and Welfare Benefit Board. The new law also mandated the money for the Fund be maintained in the State of Delaware in an account within the Department of Agriculture.
The Board consists of seven members: the Chairman of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission (ex officio), two Delaware Park jockeys, and one individual from each of the following four organizations: the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (DTHA), Delaware Park, and the organization that represents the majority of Delaware jockeys. The current members are:
- Edward J. Stegemeier, Chairman of Benefit Board, DTRC Board Member
- John Mooney, Executive Director of Racing, Delaware Park
- Bessie Gruwell, Director, DTHA
- Herbie Rivera, Regional Manager, Jockeys’ Guild
- Scott Spieth, Jockey
- Pedro Lizarzburu, Retired Jockey
- Duncan Patterson, Ex – Officio member, DTRC Chairman
Board meetings are held three to four times per year and are open to the public. The Board openly solicits participation and encourages all Delaware jockeys and their spouses to attend. The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission posts all meeting notices on their Calendar of Events webpage, available on the web at the State of Delaware website.
The Delaware Jockeys’ Association (DJA) is currently contracted by the Delaware Jockeys Health and Benefit Board to administer the Fund, a position held since December 2006.