Fund Established to Aid Disabled Jockeys

A group of racetracks and racing organizations are joining with the Jockeys' Guild to raise funds for the immediate needs of permanently disabled riders.

A release from the Thoroughbred Racing Associations said a campaign is underway to raise $1 million by June 15 to help 60 disabled jockeys.

Those involved are Churchill Downs Inc, Magna Entertainment Corp., the New York Racing Association, Sam Houston Race Park, the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

The funds will flow through NTRA Charities - Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. NTRA Charities is a 501 (c) (3) charity. A 10-member board will oversee the distribution of the money -- three representatives of the Jockeys' Guild; racetrack representatives from Churchill, Magna, and a TRA track designee; an NTRA representative on an interim basis, and three representatives of horsemen's groups, including the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

"Many of these disabled jockeys are facing financial concerns because of health care costs, or simply require help in meeting the needs of day-to-day living," said Chris Scherf, executive director of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations. "We hope that horsemen and tracks throughout North America, along with others associated with Thoroughbred racing, will join our organizations in donating to this worthy effort. As we offer interim help to these permanently disabled jockeys, our organizations will continue to work with the Jockeys' Guild toward a long-term solution that will ease the concerns of these retired riders and enable them to live with dignity and in comfort."

"This fundraising campaign is an important step forward in the industry-wide effort to provide dignity to riders who were disabled while racing," said jockey John Velazquez, chairman of the Jockeys' Guild. "The Guild is committed to this campaign as an important way to protect all jockeys."

Others who wish to contribute to the fundraising effort for disabled jockeys may do so by sending checks payable to: NTRA Charities - Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, c/o NTRA, 2525 Harrodsburg Road, Suite 500, Lexington, KY 40504.