A memorial service has been scheduled for jockey Justin Vitek March 13 following the racing program at Turfway Park. Vitek died Jan. 28 in Houston, Texas, after battling leukemia.
The service will take place in the Racing Club on the fifth floor at Turfway. Racetrack chaplains Ken Boehm and Tom Farley, along with Father Frank Niehaus, will preside, and retired jockey Pat Day will offer a prayer.
Vitek’s last win was aboard multiple-stakes winner Timeless Fashion, who is expected to complete in the Tejano Run Stakes at Turfway March 13. If the gelding wins, owners Judy Miller and Bob Liedel, trainer Tom Drury, and jockey James Lopez will donate 10% of their winnings to the Bree Vitek Education Trust Fund.
Bree Vitek is Vitek’s 6-year-old daughter.
“It’s just our way of giving a little back to the guy who gave us everything he had, every time,” said Miller, an owner and friend for whom Vitek regularly rode.
Florence mayor Diane Whalen and Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer have made official proclamations that March 13 be dubbed “Justin John Vitek Day.”
All friends and family of Vitek are invited to attend the service. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Bree Vitek Education Trust, 7601 Rialto Blvd. #1717, Austin, Texas, 78735, or the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, P.O. Box 18470, Encino, Calif., 91416.