The Race for Education presented its first Valedictorian Award to Barry Irwin, president of Team Valor. Created to recognize exceptional support by a volunteer or board member, the award was presented to Irwin at the Thoroughbred Fraternity Party, held June 17 at the Kentucky Derby Museum to benefit The Race for Education and Klein Family Learning Center.Irwin is a founding board member of The Race for Education, which in four years, has given out more than $1 million in college scholarships, mostly to children of backstretch and farm workers."Through Team Valor and Team Valor racing partnerships, Barry has been responsible for donating more race proceeds to the Race for Education than any other participant," said the organization's executive director, Elisabeth Jensen Collier. "This year, Team Valor once again is leading the way, with more than $15,000 already in purse donations to the Race For Education, including the single largest purse donation, $6,250 from Irridescence's win in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (HK-1).
"He was responsible for getting the world premiere of the movie 'Seabiscuit', which netted more than $90,000 for The Race for Education," Collier continued. "He even donates airline mileage to help us bring scholarship recipients to our annual picnic in July. We are proud to make him our first recipient of the Valedictorian Award."In a brief acceptance speech, Irwin said, "Team Valor's racing partnerships donate 1% of the stable's earnings, and the parent company, owned by my partner Jeff Siegel and I, match that amount with an additional 1%, so that in total our stable donates 2% each year."We have been able to take great satisfaction in being a part of a charity that helps elevate and give hope to the families that take care of our horses."