from Emerald Downs
Emerald Downs and its jockey colony will recognize recently injured jockey Rene Douglas and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund June 6, Belmont Stakes (gr. I) day.
In a unified show of support, riders at Emerald Downs and other racetracks will participate in a moment of tribute and support for Douglas and fellow injured riders at about 1:15 p.m. Jockeys across North America are being encouraged to donate one losing mount fee to Douglas’ recovery efforts.
Emerald Downs will donate $3,000 to the cause. It’s a contribution Emerald Downs vice president Jack Hodge calls a “very worth endeavor.”
“The bottom line is these men and women put themselves at great risk every time they climb on a racehorse,” Hodge said. “It’s one of those things where if something unfortunate does happen, you’re glad the racing industry supports this cause.”
Douglas, 42, was seriously injured in a spill in May at Arlington Park.
Ricky Frazier and Gallyn Mitchell—the two leading riders in Emerald Downs’ history—strongly support the efforts of the PDJF. Mitchell, who has been riding since 1981, plans to donate more than just a losing mount fee.
“I always try and step up and get everyone to donate as much as they can,” Mitchell said. “It’s such a good deal because you never know what’s going to happen in this game. We might compete on the track, but we’re all brothers and sisters on the sidelines.”
Said Frazier, who has competed against Douglas: “Rene’s such a great guy, a real family man. You hate to see this kind of thing happen. It’s a great thing to know there is something like this established for the community in need. You can’t thank the people who put this together enough.”
The mission of the PDJF is to assist jockeys who are permanently disabled from an on-track accident and to build awareness for their needs. The PDJF has disbursed more than $2 million to assist with the living expenses of permanently disabled riders.