Although I broke 17 bones in a 31-year career as a jockey, I consider myself both fortunate and blessed, yes I am one of the lucky ones. One of those who was able to walk away in relatively good health, and those that haven't been so fortunate desperately need our continued support. Very few jockeys are the millionaires that so many picture, and they struggle to meet both the emotional and financial demands that come with being disabled. Please find it in your heart to help the dedicated men and women that have given us all so many thrills on the backs of the animals that we hold so dear.
Jerry Bailey, Retired, Hall of Fame Jockey
These jockeys sacrificed their health so the industry can race horses. The PDJF is the best vehicle to provide financial assistance to these ex-athletes for their misfortune. I whole-heartedly support the PDJF and feel that the people in our industry should feel compelled to step up to the plate and help to support these permanently disabled jockeys.
G R Carter, Eight Time Recipient of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Champion Jockey
Jockeys have the most hazardous job of any professional athlete. There are around 1500 riders nationally and every year jockeys are killed and paralyzed. Most of the riders are struggling to make a living and a career ending injury can be devastating to them and their families. The PDJF needs industry support because of the huge current need of permanently disabled riders and lack of adequate funding to provide support.
Bill Casner, WinStar Farm
To think a jockey makes his living sitting atop a 1,200 pound animal traveling at speeds up to 40 mph, on an animal with delicate legs, while being followed by an ambulance the entire day, is as frightening as it is graceful.
Jockeys are truly remarkable athletes, fearless competitors, and at risk every day they get on a horse. Many have not only suffered career ending injuries but injuries that have been life changing for them and their families. So it is imperative our industry support the PDJF and these extraordinary men and women with all its energy and passion.
Mike Rogers, President, The Stronach Group, Racing Division
Riding is a very competitive and dangerous sport. A small percentage of riders make the "big bucks" and when serious injuries result it is not only the end of one's racing career but their way of life and they find themselves in need of support. The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund helps to meet these needs and to let them know that they have not been forgotten. Thank you to all who have supported this very needy cause. God bless you.
Pat Day, Retired, Hall of Fame Jockey
It is my hope that members of the racing community will join me in supporting the PDJF, not only to help meet the day-to-day needs of our disabled athletes but to build an endowment that will provide a permanent funding source for their long-term care.
Will Farish, President, William Stamps Farish Fund & Owner of Lane’s End Farm
Tragedy does not play favorites when it comes to the victims. Too often the victims are forgotten. The jockeys who have suffered from a catastrophic on-track accident face adversity far more than just their disabilities, their personal lives and the well being of their families are changed forever. This program is vital to many of its recipients to meet their daily needs. All participants of the horse racing industry should support the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
Terence J. Meyocks, National Manager, Jockeys Guild
Jockeys are the finest athletes in professional sports, and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund does wonderful work to take care of those who have met with misfortune. Keeneland is proud to assist the Fund and to further its goals while we make our fans aware of this invaluable organization.
Nick Nicholson, President and CEO Keenland Association, Inc.
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund is a lifesaver to riders injured during the course of their careers. I am inspired by the nobility of this fund and its significant commitment to supporting the jockeys and their families. It is important to build awareness for this worthy charity and to help make a difference in the lives of permanently disabled riders.
Richard T. Santulli, Chairman of Milestone Aviation Group
Racing riding is an inherently dangerous occupation and everyone who earns his or her living from pari-mutuel Thoroughbred racing owes a debt to those jockeys who suffer a permanently disabling injury. We can't stop these types of injuries 100 percent, but we can and must support those who pay such an enormous price for our sport and livelihood by contributing annually to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Foundation.
Chris Scherf, President, Thoroughbred Racing Associations
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund is integral in taking care of riders in need, whose careers were impacted due to unfortunate circumstances. The fund is a significant resource for these human athletes in our sport who have contributed to racing - riding at our racetracks across the United States. I hope that industry constituents and fans support this charity, so that we may continue to provide assistance for expenses these individuals face after their riding careers have ended.
Steve Sexton, President, Circuit of the Americas
If you were to talk to any jockey they would share some of the same thoughts on horse racing. These thoughts would cover their love of the sport and their understanding of the risks. Injuries in horse racing will occur. Thinking about it is not a part of a jockey's daily life, but understanding that they can occur is something a jockey needs to be prepared for. Injuries such a paralysis and brain injuries have life altering effects. The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund provides comfort to jockeys to know that there is a program for those who are affected by serious injury. Your support of the PDJF has positive affects on a jockey's life.
Mike Smith, Hall of Fame Jockey
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund is a big help for those jockeys whose lives are forever changed. In most cases this assistance only allows one to maintain a basic level of living. Without it, their lives and the lives of their families would be very different. I fully support the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and will continue to work with the industry to help make it a permanent program. This program needs the support of everyone, as it will only reach its ultimate goal when everyone comes together to give it their support.
John Velazquez, Jockey, Jockeys Guild, Board Chairman
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund is a crucial source of financial support to the human athletes in our sport who have suffered devastating injuries while pursuing their passion. Thanks to the compassion and generosity of so many individuals and industry groups, these riders receive significant assistance with their medical and living expenses, enabling them to lead more healthy and productive lives.
Alex Waldrop, President & CEO National Thoroughbred Racing Association