Jockey Jose Santos will return to the limelight Feb. 23 when he joins athletes from various other sports at the 17th Sports Legends Awards dinner at The Omni Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif. The event benefits spinal cord research through the Paralysis Project of America.
Santos suffered career-ending injuries in 2007 in a three-horse racing accident at Aqueduct. Though the jockey hoped to return to racing, five fractured vertebrae, a broken sternum, and several broken ribs managed to keep him from riding again.
He retired July 30, 2007, and was inducted in the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame a week later. Throughout his career, he rode 4,083 winners and brought home earnings of $188,561,787, ranking him 11th on the all-time jockey list.
Also present at the event will be Kevin Johnson (basketball), Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini (boxing), Luc Robitaille (hockey), and emcee Diana Nyad, a Hall of Fame distance swimming standout and now a veteran sportscaster and sportswriter. Hall of Fame motocross champion and ESPN Supercross analyst David Bailey will also be in attendance, and will receive the 2008 Bill Shoemaker Award for media awareness of the spinal cord injured and for his public advocacy for a revolutionary new safety device to be worn by motocross racers – the Leatt Brace.
The Paralysis Project of America’s annual awards ceremony is open to the public. Individual tickets are $250 per individual and may be purchased through the organization’s Web site: www.paraylsisproject.org.
For the first time in the event’s 17-year history, bidding in the sports and entertainment memorabilia auction officially begins with an online auction running Feb. 12-21 at www.paralysisproject.cmarket.com.
A few of this year’s Sports Legends auction items include an exclusive two-ticket package to the IRL’s 2008 Indianapolis 500 (with two Gasoline Alley pit passes and lodging donated by former Sports Legends honoree Andy Granatelli), as well as numerous group ticket and luxury box packages for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings, L.A. Avengers, and L.A. Galaxy. Tickets to the 2008 Prime Time Emmy Awards also will be on the auction block.