(Edited press release)
As the capstone for an eight-day series of events to raise funds for equine-related charitable organizations, the Equine Wellness Foundation donated $10,000 to the Barbaro Fund at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center May 5, Kentucky Derby Day. The funds will support research on laminitis, which ultimately was responsible for Barbaro’s death in January 2007.
Thoroughbred racing veterinarian Dr. Gary Lavin accepted the check from Charlie O’Hara, executive director of the foundation, and his wife, Mary Grace. The check presentation ceremony was held in the Equine Wellness Pavilion, set up for Derby week just outside the main gate to the backside at Churchill Downs. Book signings and a Ladies’ Hat Couture Luncheon event in the pavilion also helped raise funds for various equine organizations.
In addition to the Barbaro Fund, organizations benefiting from pavilion events in connection with this year's Derby include the Race for Education, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, Mom’s Closet, (directed by Sheila Day, wife of champion jockey Pat Day), the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the Boy’s Haven Equine Program and Central Kentucky Riding for Hope. Each organization will receive at least $1,000 from the foundation.
“This was the inauguration of the Equine Wellness Pavilion, and we’re excited about what we were able to accomplish on behalf of these organizations last week,” said Charlie O’Hara. “Our initial success means the foundation will be using the pavilion for similar charitable operations at Thoroughbred racing and other equine events in the future.”