Fundraising Day for Disabled Riders July 26

National awareness-building effort carries the theme of "Taking The Reins."

More than 30 Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racetracks throughout the U.S. have been invited to participate in the first Permanently Disabled Jockeys' Fund's "Day Across America" July 26.

Racetracks, fans, jockeys, and industry leaders are being asked to unite that Saturday in a show of support for the PDJF and its mission.

Plans call for the day of awareness-building and fundraising with the theme "Taking The Reins" to become an annual event. Working with their local jockey colony, racetracks will promote the PDJF in fan-friendly ways that may include autograph sessions, photo opportunities, and video spots, PDJF said in a release.

"We have contacted each racetrack that will be running on July 26 and have had a positive response that will raise funds for, and awareness of, the PDJF," said Scott Wells, Thoroughbred Racing Associations president. "Our goal is to educate our sport's fans that the PDJF is a charity that must be sustained for the welfare of disabled riders and their families.

"Naturally we are also hopeful that tracks continue to engage their patrons on behalf of the PDJF throughout their race meets," Wells added.

"PDJF is not just an industry acronym or letters on a ball cap," said Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, Jockeys' Guild chairman and PDJF board member. "This organization is dedicated to improving the lives and welfare of the men and women who face lifelong challenges due to their disabilities. They can no longer compete or provide adequately for their families. PDJF Day Across America is an opportunity to educate our fans about the PDJF and emphasize the importance of raising funds."