The following was issued as a press release yesterday:
“The Jockeys’ Guild and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) hosted a symposium at Keeneland today in order to bring the critical issue of jockey mental health to the forefront and generate discussion on how the Thoroughbred industry can work together to advance the mental wellness of jockeys across the country.
“Jockeys’ Guild President and CEO Terry Meyocks and HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus welcomed attendees and opened the symposium with remarks on the two organizations’ shared goals of addressing the factors that adversely affect rider mental health and developing mechanisms for increased access to mental wellness resources.”
Lazarus added: “HISA’s responsibility to oversee safety in racing certainly includes the mental wellbeing of its athletes.”
So of course I’m wondering, what about the mental wellbeing of the jockeys’ “teammates,” the industry’s other “athletes”? You know, the ones who are kept locked in solitary confinement for over 23 hours a day. You know, the ones who, as literal chattel, are forever being bought and sold and sold and bought. You know, the ones who are being led around by lip chains, controlled with chunks of metal in their mouths, and, lest we forget, whipped (by those same mentally-struggling jockeys). You know, the ones – at least 90% of them – who are suffering from stomach ulcers. You know, the ones regularly (every day, that is) losing their brethren to death, or worse, to slaughter.
So what do you say, Ms. Lazarus? Can we get to work planning that follow-up symposium? Yeah, that’s what I thought.