Owners racing horses at Kentucky Downs compete for some of the most lucrative purses in the world, and the track is encouraging horsemen to contribute a piece of their winnings to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
The RUNHAPPY Meet at Kentucky Downs launches on Labor Day, Sept. 7, and continues on Sept. 9, 10, 12, 13 and 16, with purses scheduled to average $2 million a day.
Kentucky Downs is enabling owners to donate to Grayson and/or the PDJF by designating a percentage of purse money won or a flat fee per starter. Owners can direct the horsemen’s bookkeeper to allocate funds from their accounts to Grayson or the PDJF through InCompass Solutions’ Track Manager system, with paper forms in the racing office also available for owners to fill out. Kentucky Downs is kicking off donations with a lead gift of $2,500 to each organization.
Grayson is the nation’s leading source of private funding for equine medical research that benefits all breeds of horses. Since 1983, the foundation has provided more than $29.1 million to fund 384 projects at 45 universities in North America and overseas.
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) is an independent charitable organization that provides financial assistance to jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. The PDJF currently supports 60 former riders who have suffered paralysis, brain injuries or both. The fund has disbursed nearly $11 million in aid since its 2006 founding.
In previous years, Kentucky Downs has hosted a Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation Day on behalf of the organization.
“Our previous sponsorship days for Grayson were great successes in the past, and we are pleased that we can continue to support an organization that funds such important work on behalf of horses,” said Ted Nicholson, senior vice president and general manager of Kentucky Downs. “We also are proud to establish another funding stream for the PDJF to assist jockeys who sustain such devastating injuries.
“Helping our horses and our disabled riders are two missions where we can never claim victory, but we owe it to these valiant human and equine athletes to do everything we can to make a difference in their lives for the good. We encourage all those competing at Kentucky Downs to consider contributing to one or both organizations and that other racetracks join this effort.”
Additional information about the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is available at grayson-jockeyclub.org.
“We thank Kentucky Downs and their horsemen for recognizing the importance of equine research, even in the midst of a pandemic,” said Jamie Haydon, president of Grayson. “We appreciate the commitment that the Kentucky Downs team has shown toward promoting equine health.”
More information about the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund is available at PDJF.org.
“We were very excited to hear and greatly appreciate Kentucky Downs for giving PDJF this opportunity and their generous donation,” said Nancy LaSala, the PDJF’s board president and executive director. “We know that this past year has been very difficult for everyone. During these times we know the challenges everyone is facing, and we are forever grateful for the support we are able to receive.”