MHAF Hosts Fundraiser to Help Injured Rider

The Maryland Horsemen's Assistance Fund (MHAF) in conjunction with The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association will present a special fundraiser at The Corner Stable in Columbia, Md., on Thursday, Oct. 17 from 6-9 p.m. to benefit a special fund created for longtime exercise rider Jose Villegas who was recently seriously injured during a morning training session at Laurel Park.
The Corner Stable in Columbia, owned by longtime Thoroughbred owner Charles "Chip" Reed, will donate 15% of all gross receipts that evening for the fund, designed to assist Villegas since his injury.
Villegas, who spent more than 20 years in Maryland as a conditioner for trainer Richard "Dickie" Small, was about to breeze a 2-year-old colt for another trainer when the horse stumbled and tossed Villegas. 
The 43-year-old father of two from Hampstead, Md., is currently in stable condition at Kernan Hospital in Baltimore County. Villegas has full use of his upper body, however he remains paralyzed below the waist as the result of the spill. 
"Jose is in very good spirits," said MHAF's executive director Robert Lillis, who recently visited Villegas. "In fact, from talking with him, you would never know he was injured as bad as he is. Jose has always been a humble person."
In addition to the ribs and crabcakes on the fundraiser menu, there will also be a silent auction of racing memorabilia, a 50/50 raffle, and celebrity karaoke. Among the items donated to the auction is an opportunity to "write your own race," donated by Maryland Jockey Club. 

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