Although there was no Triple Crown winner on the track this year, each of the Triple Crown races represented a boost for equine research. The owners of both winning colts, Monarchos and Point Given, had each pledged 1% of the purses to Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.
John and Debby Oxley had been the first to commit a percentage when they donated to the Foundation 1% of Monarchos' Florida Derby (gr. I) winning purse. Then followed a similar donation from his subsequent Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victory, that pledge also being matched by the owners of Pin Oak Stud stallion Maria's Mon, Monarchos' sire.
Prince Ahmed bid Salman was among several other owners of Triple Crown contenders who stepped forward and matched the Oxley's generosity. The owner of The Thoroughbred Corp. and its star colt Point Given announced the donation of 1% of both his Preakness and Belmont Stakes (both gr. I) victories.
In addition, Debby Oxley added a distaff touch to the Foundation's Racing for Research program when she pledged 1% of the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) purse should her Forest Secrets win. Although sent off at 50-1, Forest Secret did just that.
The current total of these pledges comes to $35,940 for the Foundation, which annually funds various equine research projects at a broad geographic range of universities. Mrs. Oxley's pledge for Forest Secret continues through the remaining two races of the Triple Tiara for 3-year-old fillies.
"The generosity of these owners is very impressive," said Edward L. Bowen, president of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. "Not only are their contributions concrete benefits to the horse, but the example they have set has resulted in other horse owners stepping forward, including ongoing pledges we have received.
"I would also like to thank other owners of Triple Crown runners who announced their willingness to contribute 1% if they had won. These were: Joyce and Robert McNair, owners of Congaree (a pledge also including the Breeders' Cup); Gary and Mary West, owners of Dollar Bill; and Rick Pitino, Joseph Cornacchia, John Hettinger, et al, owners of A P Valentine. They, too, typify sportsmanship as well as the Thoroughbred industry's dedication to its horses."