Jockey Victor Espinoza

Jockey Victor Espinoza

Benoit Photography

Espinoza Donates $10,000 for Racetrack Grooms

Jockey's earnings for the race week of Aug. 10-14 went to assist backstretch workers.

Jockey Victor Espinoza, who pledged to donate his earnings for the race week of Aug. 10-14 to assist Southern California racetrack grooms, has presented a $10,000 check to the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation.

Espinoza handed the check over during a winner's circle presentation following the second race at Del Mar Aug. 17. During the week at Del Mar, the 39-year-old native of Mexico City had three wins, five seconds, and four third-place finishes from 25 mounts.

Accepting the check on behalf of CTHF were board member and secretary Mary Forney and executive director Kevin Bolling. They were joined in the winner’s circle by Angela Valverde, CTHF office manager, and Steve Kenny representing racetrack grooms.

Espinoza, is one of the nation’s leading riders with 2,847 career victories and $143,942,464 in earnings through Aug. 17. He holds 11 Southern California meet titles including three at Del Mar, where he had a record-setting seven victories on Labor Day, Sept. 4, 2006. He is currently seventh in the Del Mar jockey standings with 10 wins from 92 mounts.

Espinoza said he wanted to ride for a week on behalf of the grooms because they are so often overlooked even though they are such a vital part of horse racing.

“The grooms are important for everybody in horse racing” said Espinoza. “They take care of the horses more than anybody, sometimes 24 hours a day.”

CTHF chairman Ken Smole said, "Victor’s generous gift will be of enormous benefit to the racetrack grooms in Southern California. It is a thoughtful and admirable act. His gift is also very timely, as the economic challenges in the racing industry over the past few years have led to decreases in CTHF's sources of funding."

CTHF is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in the community of stable workers at California’s major racetracks, fair circuit tracks, and state recognized off-track training centers. CTHF administers medical and dental services through its on-track clinics, making health care accessible and affordable for more than 5,000 backstretch workers and their families.