(Edited press release)
New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. has donated a ceramic lawn jockey, painted with the silks of owner Jess Jackson’s colors, to the fan-based organization ThoroFan, which will use the iconic image of racing to help raise money for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.
“We are helping ThoroFan put this classic image of our national passion `on the road’ to help project the enormous contributions offered by the thoroughbred industry throughout the Empire State,” said Jeffrey A. Cannizzo, executive director of NYTB. “For decades the lawn jockey has announced to all concerned that its owner loves the thoroughbreds. Now it can become a roving ambassador, introducing more New Yorkers to this compelling sport that also contributes to our regional and statewide economy.”
Cannizzo says an online contest is being conducted at www.thorofan.com that invites web site visitors to name the jockey while the statue travels about the region to meetings, horse sales, the races, and in storefront windows throughout Saratoga.
As an example of how the lawn jockey can be used to raise money, a check for $500 has been presented to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation from dollars raised at ThoroFan’s “Celebrate the Preakness Party.” As Jackson’s Rachel Alexandra reached was crossing the wire in first, local equine artist Frankie Flores painted his bright yellow silks with the crimson “V” on the statue and it will remain adorned with those winning colors and autographed by the artist.
Cannizzo explained that the NYTB is seeking to acquire additional lawn jockeys so that they too may be auctioned off to raise more funds for the thoroughbred retirement fund and serve as a national model for similar efforts across the country.
“Together, ThoroFan and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, are reinventing this statue so that he becomes a symbol of everyone working together for the betterment of the Thoroughbred industry in Saratoga and nationwide,” said ThoroFan’s founder, supervisor Joanne Yepsen.
In addition, Nancy Smith is offering an additional $100.00 donation each time a lawn jockey is sold through her business, Saratoga Signatures. The purchaser need only mention ThoroFan, NYTB or the TRF.