Jockey Mark Guidry, who started a horsemen's hurricane relief fund at Arlington Park earlier this month, left Chicago on Monday with a truckload of supplies for hurricane victims in and around Lafayette, Louisiana."The Red Cross has done a great job of making sure that assistance gets to the major areas," said the Louisiana-born Guidry, "but there are so many little town halls and small churches that are taking people in and really hurting for supplies. Hopefully this will make the difference."Working in cooperation with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America's Louisiana division, Guidry plans to distribute the supplies he's collected from Arlington Park's horsemen and fans. The proceeds from the hurricane relief fund that Guidry started on Sept. 1 will also be distributed with the assistance of the RTCA's Louisiana chapter. "They're helping us identify the people who are most in need," said Guidry.
According to the horsemen's bookkeeper at Arlington Park, the hurricane relief fund raised over $53,000 in 19 days. Funds were still being tallied as of Monday, but Guidry expects a total equaling at least $56,000. Motivated by the veteran rider's lead, the Arlington Park jockey's colony was especially instrumental in the fundraising process. "These guys and their families were great," Guidry said. "They stepped up, and they stepped up good."On the last weekend of racing at the Chicago oval, visiting jockeys Gary Stevens and Mike Smith took time between races to sign autographs for the benefit.