The first telethon for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), hosted by TVG Network in association with Betfair Exchange and the Jockeys' Guild, raised $217,730 on Sunday, April 8, to assist in the care of 59 permanently disabled riders. Callers flooded phone banks in Los Angeles and at Keeneland and were able to donate by talking to several active and retired jockeys as well as PDJF beneficiaries.
“Our intention going in was to raise awareness and funding. We came away with so much more,” said PDJF president Nancy LaSala. “PDJF recipients were seen around the country and truly know they are not forgotten. Horse racing fans responded with their generosity and kindness and, in turn, got to speak to some of the great athletes they so admire. The day was an unqualified success for all, so much so that we are already making plans for our next telethon.”
When the phone lines closed at 7 pm (ET), the PDJF had banked $215,390. “Late money” rolled in afterward, bringing the total to $217,730, representing approximately three credit card transactions per minute during the course of the six-hour telethon.
“There are many important causes in horse racing, but none any more important than the PDJF – helping those courageous athletes who have contributed so much to the sport and need critical assistance,” said TVG CEO Kip Levin. “The generosity of so many individuals and industry organizations during the telethon is a fitting reflection of the worthiness of the cause. We are extremely proud to have been associated with Sunday's event.”
Some major donations of note: HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Arabian Festival presented the PDJF with a check for $50,000 at Santa Anita Park on Saturday. During telethon hours, Al Basti Equiworld donated $20,000 and Kenny Troutt, owner of WinStar Farm, and WinStar CEO W. Elliott Walden called in another $20,000 in celebration of Justify's victory in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (G1).
The PDJF would like to expressly thank the racing fans across the country who responded to the telethon with enthusiasm and generosity.
“We are so grateful to everyone who gave,” said PDJF Ambassador Ramon Dominguez who worked the phones from the TVG studios in Los Angeles. “The horse racing community truly pulled together and supported the disabled riders who need our help. I want to especially thank the jockeys who were on the phones talking to and building relationships with their fans.”
The PDJF thanks TVG Network and Keeneland Association and their staffs for providing space for the telethon.
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