(edited press release)
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced June 7 that the NTRA Charities – Barbaro Memorial Fund will make its first two disbursements, totaling $150,000, this Saturday at Belmont Park in the winner’s circle following the seventh race on the Belmont Stakes Day card. Also part of the ceremony will be a check presentation of $15,000 to the Fund from the New York Racing Association.
A disbursement of $100,000 will be made from the NTRA Charities – Barbaro Memorial Fund to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. Since 1983, the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation has underwritten 230 equine medical research projects at 32 universities with more than $14 million. This year, the foundation’s board of directors has approved 13 new projects, including three devoted to the study of laminitis, and has renewed funding for eight others. The total allocation for this year’s research is $1,105,045, the most ever allocated by the organization in one calendar year.
A disbursement of $50,000 will be made to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s Fund for Laminitis Research. The School of Veterinary Medicine is fighting laminitis through new and cutting-edge research to develop preventative and therapeutic management strategies. This work builds upon the school’s extensive and renowned reputation for animal stem cell research and equine care. In addition to the well-established international symposium on laminitis and diseases of the foot that the school has conducted every two years since 2001, the school recently announced the appointment of a Senior Research Investigator, Hannah Galantino-Homer, V.M.D, Ph.D, to begin the work of the Laminitis Research Initiative.
“Thanks to the generosity of fans across North America and of member organizations like the New York Racing Association, we are proud to make these initial two disbursements from the NTRA Charities – Barbaro Memorial Fund to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and to the University of Pennsylvania’s Fund for Laminitis Research,” said Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of the NTRA. “The work of the Barbaro Memorial Fund will continue so that we can make many more disbursements to the various leaders in the care of Thoroughbreds.”
“The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is honored to be chosen to manage these funds from the NTRA Charities – Barbaro Memorial Fund,” said Ed Bowen, president of the foundation. “Our foundation has a longstanding relationship with the equine research community, and we have worked successfully together for many years to improve the health and welfare of the horse.”
“We are most grateful to NTRA Charities and the donors to the Barbaro Memorial Fund for this generous gift,” said Dr. Joan C. Hendricks, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “It will advance our research efforts as we search for a cure for this devastating condition.”
NTRA volunteers will be at Belmont Park on Saturday selling commemorative wristbands featuring the phrase “Riding With Barbaro.” The blue rubber bracelets, similar to the yellow bracelets made popular by retired cyclist Lance Armstrong, will sell for $2.00 each with proceeds going to the Barbaro Memorial Fund. Wristbands will be sold at stations on the Belmont Colonnade on ground level by the paddock, and also on the second floor of both the grandstand and clubhouse. NTRA volunteers will also vend the wristbands on foot throughout the track.
The NTRA Charities - Barbaro Memorial Fund was created to raise awareness and money for equine health and safety research in the name of 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Barbaro, whose gallant struggle to overcome a catastrophic injury in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) captivated horse enthusiasts around the world.
Monies raised by the Barbaro Memorial Fund will support equine research projects, including those that focus on laminitis, the painful and often fatal hoof disease that plagued Barbaro for so much of his recuperative period following his injury. Those wishing to make cash donations to the NTRA Charities – Barbaro Memorial Fund may do so at www.ridingwithbarbaro.org.
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horse racing interests consisting of leading Thoroughbred racetracks, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity of horse racing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA web site, NTRA.com.