By Kate Richards, Artwork AE Sabo
Racing has been called the most if not one of the most dangerous sports on earth. The jockeys that ride these forward hurtling thoroughbreds are skilled through their years of apprenticing, tenacious in securing well-trained mounts and courageous every day that they enter the starting gate. We racing fans love them and the horses that they pilot. Yet, what happens when there is an accident during the race? For the TV watcher, the camera cuts away…for the tracksider there is a collective gasp and instant assistance to the felled. What happens to the injured jockey being hustled into a track ambulance?
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund was started to address that question. A registered 501c3 public licensed charity was created to provide financial assistance to injured jockeys who have suffered catastrophic injuries. This includes the medical expenses as well as the aftercare costs of funding a licensed caregiver to maintain the disabled jockey with some form of living quality. As well promoted as PDJF was with illustrious jockeys wearing logoed PDJF breeches on major stakes days, there was a need to create a signature event to consistently raise supporting funds every year. Led by Executive Director, Barry Pearl, the fundraiser was created called “Jockeys and Jeans”, developed by a core group consisting of retired jockeys Mike Manganello, Darell Brown, Eddy Donnally and Barbara Jo Rubin, the first female jockey to win an American stakes race. To date, the organization and its event have raised over $13 million. Yet with today’s medical costs rising at a gallop, more is needed. Much more.
This year’s event is being held at Churchill Downs on July 2, 2022, with the track contributing a Kentucky Derby 2023 Box for 6 to the lucky live auction bidder. Wow. Those are sold out years in advance! One has to be there to bid on this incredible offering. Can’t be in Louisville for the party and meet the most famous jockeys in the world?? Send a support check to:
Permanently Disabled Jockey’s Fund
PO Box 803
Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
Write in the margin: Honoring JOCKEYS n JEANS