(Edited press release)
Roy and Gretchen Jackson, the owners of Barbaro, will be the featured guests at the 2007 Call to the Post dinner and auction at the Ocala, Fla., Hilton April 22 to benefit the Ocala Farm Ministry of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America.
"We know the Chaplaincy in Ocala is helping a lot of people," said Roy Jackson. "This is a nice event that's designed to help the (racing farm) workers in the entire area. We're really pleased to be a part of it."
Stephanie Brennan, who along with Jaqui DeMeric is overseeing the event's organization, said the Jacksons will speak about their experiences as the owners of Barbaro. The colt was the undefeated winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), but broke a back leg during the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) two weeks later. After a battle for his life that gained the sympathy of millions around the world, Barbaro was euthanized at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center Jan. 29.
Funds from the event will benefit the local chaplaincy program and the establishment of the Robert Scanlon Memorial Community Center. Local chaplaincy leaders say they are searching for a plot of ground and/or a building suitable for the center, named for the late Ocala horseman, Robert Scanlon. The center will provide a host of services to the thousands of area racing farm workers.
In January, the Jacksons won a special Eclipse award and the couple's Lael Stables also took home a second Eclipse when they tied in the voting with Darley Stable as the nation's outstanding owner. A week after the Ocala event, NBC Sports will present "Barbaro, A Nation's Horse," a special one-hour documentary.
Auction item viewing begins at 5 p.m. and the dinner is at 7 p.m. The live auction will be conducted by noted Thoroughbred auctioneer Ryan Mahan.