(Edited press release)
Some of the most accomplished jockeys in Thoroughbred racing participated in Riders Up!, a karaoke competition at Keeneland April 17 that raised more than $50,000 for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. The event attracted a capacity crowd of some 500 people.
“This was a fabulous event, and we’re thrilled to have raised this much money for such a worthy cause,” said Keeneland president and CEO Nick Nicholson. “Not only was it a great cause, it was a great time, too. The jockeys, the crowd, the judges—everyone really got into the spirit of the evening.”
Performers included Patti Cooksey, Angel Cordero Jr., Jon Court, Pat Day, Kent Desormeaux, Earlie Fires, Alan Garcia, James Graham, Corey Lanerie, Chris McCarron, Dean Mernagh, Edgar Prado, Herbie Rivera Jr., Jamie Theriot, John Velazquez, Charlie Woods, John Oldham, and Jessica Oldham Stith.
Serving as judges were country singer Eddie Montgomery and his wife, Tracy; Keeneland director of sales Geoffrey Russell; local media personality DeAnn Stephens; and Todd Schrupp of TVG.
Awards went to:
Judge’s Choice Award: Albarado and Rivera for “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before.”
People’s Choice Award: Cooksey, Court, Day, Fires, McCarron, John Oldham, and Woods for “Do You Think I’m Sexy.”
Woods stole the show as he dressed in drag for a rendition of “Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.” For his award-winning performance, Woods took on the spirit of Rod Stewart by donning a blond spiked wig, skintight T-shirt, and leopard-print tights.
“Thank you to everybody who contributed and participated,” said Velazquez, who is chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild. “It was a great time for everyone.”
Sponsored by Keeneland and the Jockeys’ Guild, Riders Up! was made possible in part through various levels of sponsorships that accounted for some $30,000 of the total amount raised. Gold sponsors were Darley, Ramsey Farm, and Breeders’ Cup; Silver sponsors were WinStar Farm and Vinery; and Bronze sponsors were Denali Stud, Equibase, Meyocks and O’Hara Racing, Padua Stables, and Shadwell Farms. Another $20,000 was raised via ticket sales and donations, including a $10,000 donation from Mark Hoffman, co-owner of Ashland Stakes (gr. I) winner Hooh Why.
Photos of Riders Up! are available at KeenelandHorsePhotos.com.