(Edited press release)
In recognition and unqualified support of U.S. service members, the Breeders’ Cup, in partnership with the United Service Organizations, will host more than 350 American troops and their families for a day of championship Thoroughbred racing Nov. 7 at Santa Anita Park, as part of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The day at the races will be sponsored by West Point Thoroughbreds, headed by Terry Finley, a former U.S. Army captain and West Point graduate.
Breeders’ Cup and Oak Tree Racing Association are saluting both American soldiers and local Southern California firefighters this year under the banner of “Heroes and Horses.”
As a part of the Nov. 6 and 7 festivities, the USO has also helped to secure the country music group Carter's Chord, accompanied by a military color guard, to perform the national anthem. Carter’s Chord is composed of Becky, Emily, and Joanna Robertson of Nashville, where they have just released their self-titled album co-produced by Toby Keith and their Grammy-winning father, Barny Robertson.
The USO will have a dedicated hospitality area in the racetrack infield for more than 350 service members from the Southern California area and their families to enjoy the day of events. A Mobile USO unit also will be onsite. Designed to support troops serving in remote and isolated areas throughout the U.S., these vehicles offer a comfortable place where service members can relax and connect online with family and friends during their downtime. When not in service at military facilities, the Mobile USO’s are deployed to community events around the country to raise public awareness and build support for the troops and their families.
“We thank the Breeders’ Cup for helping us provide this experience for our troops,” said USO president Sloan Gibson. “Through their generosity, the USO is able to provide a unique day of fun to the brave men and women of our military and their families.”
“We are honored to partner with the USO to provide a very special day of entertainment for the men and women who serve our country,” said Greg Avioli, president and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup.
“As a former serviceman and a Thoroughbred owner, I am extremely proud to support Breeders’ Cup and the USO together in providing our men and women of the armed forces with a terrific day at one of the world’s greatest sporting events,” said Finley.
The USO joins The V Foundation for Cancer Research and the Thoroughbred Charities of America as beneficiaries of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Charities program. Breeders’ Cup Charities was formed in 2008 to partner with and raise funds and awareness for broad-based charitable organizations. Earlier this year, Churchill Downs hosted the USO and service members and their families at the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).