California's racing industry has joined forces during the Labor Day weekend to help raise funds for victims of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in the Gulf States. Racing venues throughout the state are serving as collection centers for the effort with all funds raised being earmarked for the American Red Cross. The "Racing With Heart" effort is centered at the two live race meets at Del Mar near San Diego and Bay Meadows in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, the California Horse Racing Board, the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Trainers, the California Thoroughbred Breeders‚ Association, Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Fairplex Park and Cal Expo have all joined in the effort to raise funds through the Labor Day weekend. Both Del Mar and Bay Meadows will adjust their simulcast schedules to offer betting on races from Evangeline Downs in Louisiana this Sunday. That track has pledged to donate all of its revenues for the day to the Red Cross Relief Fund.
At Del Mar the jockey colony has volunteered to raise funds by being dunk tank targets for fans willing to make donations Saturday, Sunday and Monday afternoons. Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has agreed to match whatever funds the jockeys raise and has guaranteed a contribution of $25,000. Bay Meadows will set up a special Red Cross tent to accept donations during its races on Labor Day and is preparing to make a contribution on its own to the fund. Besides the racing organizations, the state's racing television and wagering services have pledged help. TVG, HRTV, Youbet.com and XpressBet have all indicated they will be donating funds to the project.