Kickback pressure in horse racing, say it isn’t so as the industry has enough problems and issues
By Kate Richards
Jomar Torres, a Puerto Rican jockey based out of Monmouth Park has a loyal agent in John Salamone. “Jomar is like a son to me” said Salamone. “There are some characters on tracks that make it difficult for even the most talented jockeys to earn a living” he suggested. “ I have kind of taught him what is acceptable, decent and how to build a good relationship with trainers and owners”. He continued” Once in a while, a situation happens even with an up and comer like Jomar, that burns me”, “it’s beyond not fair” he said.
Jomar Torres had been successful for eight previous WIN races on a 5 year-old racemare, a PA. bred by the name of CHUB WAGON (Hey Chub), owned by Daniel Lopez and George Chestnutt of Joe-Dan Farm.
John Salamone continued
“Yes, there are the sweeteners and the kickbacks that are asked of the jockey to keep the mount. But heck, CHUB WAGON has done well with my guy, Jomar. Irad Ortiz won two races on her, as far as I know nobody was staked at the barn. Nobody! With her, my book is on Jomar, with the way he reads her and gets her to the wire”
Yesterday, CHUB WAGON ran successfully in the 8th race at PARX. Not, however with Jomar Torres in the irons as he was replaced after Agent Salamone could not pay the $2000 sweetener requested by one of CHUB’s owners to guarantee the ride.
And, this, after Salamone and his client, Jomar Torres, paid for barn parties after the 8 Torres piloted CHUB wins. Eight wins with Jomar Torres. Eight parties.In addition to those parties Torres has personally paid $1100 to the groom as a kickback and Salamone the agent has paid several hundred dollars to barn staff.
As a writer, I examine the facts and try to track the story-line. This one got to me as a fan.
Many of us have been in the position of starting out and hoping, searching for a mentor. This jockey’s ability on Chub Wagon caught my attention as well as did the loyalty expressed by his agent who was up front in expressing how much that he wanted JOMAR to get the mounts and get in with trainers who would build a relationship with him. Kickbacks from Jockeys and agents to barn staffs is a new one for me. Jomar Torres is skilled athlete with a very good agent in John Salamone. Both are looking forward to an excellent season in Monmouth. If they can afford the kickbacks.
Photo: John Salamone