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Jockeys Sue to Wear Guild Patches

April 19, 2004

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ Three jockeys have sued the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority and its predecessor in federal court, seeking to wear a Jockeys’ Guild patch on their uniforms when they race.

Robby Albarado, Brian Peck and Shane Sellers filed the suit Friday in U.S. District Court in Louisville. The suit was filed 15 days before the Kentucky Derby is run at Churchill Downs.

The jockeys said the racing authority’s rule preventing jockeys from including items on their attire that ``in the opinion of the commission are not in keeping with the traditions of the turf″ violates the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The racing authority is the successor to the Kentucky Racing Commission, which also is named as a defendant in the suit. Gov. Ernie Fletcher abolished the commission and replaced it with the authority in January.

Last November, 13 jockeys _ including Sellers and Albarado _ filed suit in Franklin County Circuit Court after the state racing commission fined them $500 apiece for wearing the guild patch on their right pantlegs during last year’s Kentucky Derby. That suit is still pending, said Christopher Lasch, an attorney for the jockeys.

Bill Street, the racing authority’s chairman, said Monday in a statement, that the ``Jockeys’ Guild has requested an interpretation of the current regulation regarding the jockeys’ proper attire during racing. After thorough discussion, the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority does not believe it is appropriate to change its current interpretation of the tradition of the turf. It is prepared to deal severely with any challenge to this interpretation.″

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