California Retirement Management Account (CARMA), a charitable 501c3 organization dedicated to assisting Thoroughbred rehabilitation and retirement organizations that care for retired racehorses in California, recently held their 3rd annual charity Texas Hold 'Em "Poker in Paradise" event. One night a year industry insiders, jockeys, trainers, and racing enthusiasts gather to play poker and raise funds to ensure retired racehorses get the proper longterm care they require.
With 234 poker players in attendance, CARMA raised more than $70,000 to benefit local organizations dedicated to the maintenance and care of horses whose racing careers have ended. An additional 115 people attended the event in a show of support, but did not participate in the poker tournament.
"We are thrilled with the success of our 'Poker in Paradise' event," said CARMA's chair of the board Madeline Auerbach. "The work that CARMA does in the horse racing community in California is so important and deserves the attention it received at this fundraiser. I am eternally grateful to all the attendees, especially those who participated in the poker tournament, for their support and dedication to CARMA."
Sports radio host Jim Rome was among the attendees, as well as Mark Loretta (former second baseman for the Padres), Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith (Zenyatta's jockey), and Zenyatta's trainer John. Billy Koch of Little Red Feather Racing and former MLB pitcher, served as the MC for the evening.
CARMA is funded by individual donations and by their work with the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) to adopt a rule allowing for a 0.3% deduction from purses to help fund equine retirement. This deduction, which owners can opt-out of, is used to help support equine retirement farms and other nonprofit programs that care for and retrain retired Thoroughbred racehorses. To date, CARMA has received support from 80 percent of horse owners.
Since its inception in 2008, CARMA has granted $414,000, which has provided care to over 400 Thoroughbreds that participated in California races at some point in their career. Over 80 percent of the funds raised by the organization are utilized in the day-to-day care of these horses.
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