Last night, the Jockeys got off to an aggressive start and left no doubt as to their agility, rattling the usually unflappable Texas Titans as they took control in the first quarter of the Aug. 9 New York Race Track Chaplaincy’s Basketball Fundraiser for jockey Andrew Lakeman, who was paralyzed in a racing accident earlier this year.
Eibar Coa, wearing the gold and black silks of West Point Stables, scored the first hoop of the game and quickly proved his speed and accuracy, but the Titans’ number 1, Austin Grandstaff, brought his team’s professionalism back to mind with a quick score for the team of Dallas fifth-graders as the event got underway at the Saratoga High School in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
From that point, the Jockeys kept their opponents scrambling as Herberto Castillo Jr., Kent Desormeaux, and Coa all scored baskets. Desormeaux got in one more shot before the Titans managed a four-point score by number 15, Preston Troutt.
Following a basket by Norberto Arroyo Jr. and another by Desormeaux, the Titans called a 30-second time out with 1:15 remaining in the first period – the jockeys at 14, the titans at 6.
Assistant Coach Jeff Webster rallied his team and the Titans came back strong, as deadly three-point shooter Preston Troutt (number 15) scored six points. After failing to score, the Jockeys called a time out with 18.5 seconds remaining at the first quarter, then finished the quarter without scoring and held a short 13-12 lead going into the second.
It was the Jockeys’ ball as the second quarter got underway, and Norberto Arroyo Jr. made a quick pass to Coa who scored four points in a row with two baskets.
Permitted two free-throws due to a foul by a Jockeys’ player, Titans number 31, Grant Troutt, shot two baskets in a row. Kent Desormeaux then stole the ball to shoot a basket for his team, putting the score up to 20-14.
Preston Troutt scored three additional points, but the Jockeys countered with a two-point shot and pushed the score to 22-17 as the game went into halftime.
It was the Jockeys’ ball going into the third quarter, as Coa spun and twisted a backhanded shot into the net. Grandstaff countered with a score for the Titans, but Desormeaux stole the ball and landed a basket before So So Jamado, number 00, flipped a two-point free throw.
Coa then gained control of the ball and scored five points for his team, relinquishing momentary control to the Titans’ number 33, Matthew Merrick, who shot a basket and lost the ball back to Coa, who again scored for the Jockeys.
When the Titans’ number 13, Michael McReynolds, scored two points, the jockeys called a 30-second time out. With 31.9 seconds remaining until the third quarter, the score stood at 29-25.
The ball was in the hands of the Titans going into the third quarter, and Preston Trout scored three points to draw within one point of the Jockeys, 29-28. Jockeys coach Todd Pletcher called a 60-minute time out and the team returned to score four points at the hands of Desormeaux.
Grandstaff landed a three-point basket to again draw within one point of the Jockeys, who called another time out. Arroyo took to the court and gave the team a three-point gain with a flashy jumpshot, placing the score at 34-31 with 1:54 remaining in the final quarter.
A foul by Arroyo gave Grant Troutt a free-throw and a single point, but a foul by Troutt then gave Coa a free-throw and single point. With the score standing at 35-32, the Jockeys landed a series of hoops to boost the score to 41-34. The Titans fought back, with Mike McReynolds landing a two-point shot for the team. But Coa was on the rebound and clearly at the advantage, and the Jockeys finished the game with a 44-36 lead on the out-of-town team.
“It was a great game,” said Titans assistant coach Jeff Webster. “What can I say? My kids played against full-grown men, professional athletes, and did a heck of a job.”
“Those kids were tough,” said Jockeys coach Todd Pletcher. “The main thing was to come out and support a good cause, and people definitely showed up tonight.”
The basketball game was a fundraiser organized by the New York Race Track Chaplaincy and WinStar Farm. WinStar co-owners Kenny and Lisa Troutt are involved with the nationally-ranked AAU basketball team through their sons.
After last night's game, the Titans still hold a 105-4 record
Numerous prominent owners, including Stonerside Stable, Circle E Racing, Padua Stables, IEAH Stables, West Point Thoroughbreds, WinStar Farm, Dogwood Stable, Darley Stable, James Scatuorchio, Lael Stables, and Earle Mack each donated $5,000 to have their silks represented in the event.
"The organizer of the event, the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, is committed to helping the physical and spiritual needs of the people on the backside, and Andrew definitely needs our prayers, our time, and our generosity," said Elliott Walden, vice president of WinStar Farm, said in an Aug. 1 release.
All proceeds raised from the event went to Andrew Lakeman. Tax deductible donations may still be made the Race Track Chaplaincy of America Inc., P.O. Box 91640, Los Angeles, Calif., 90009; or to the following fund which has been established on the injured rider’s behalf: Andrew Lakeman, c/o Karen Murphy, 76 Phelps Road, Old Chatham, New York 12136.