I have been asked by the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund Board to speak on behalf of their recipients. It is an honor to be asked to speak on behalf of all of my fellow jockeys who this fund assists. I would never assume to speak for anyone else but in this case, I am sure that all my fellow disabled riders would join me in expressing their thanks for everything the PDJF does to assist the riders who have been permanently disabled.
I have always loved horses; they have always been a part of my life and being able to earn a living riding them was a dream come true for me. I think that most riders will tell you that racing has a way of getting into your blood. There can be tough days to be sure: races lost, opportunities missed and disappointments along the way. All-in-all though, I always considered myself lucky to be able to make a living in a profession I enjoyed. Crossing the finish line first after a hard-fought duel down the stretch, or a well-timed run coming from behind, is a feeling that I still remember fondly.
It is a fact that most riders come to realize that riding races is a dangerous sport but that is something that you just push to the back of your mind. You don’t stop and dwell on that aspect of the game or you could never do justice to your horse, the owners, trainers and the public.
I do believe that the racing fans are a very important and essential part of the sport. For me personally, they have also given me a great deal of support and encouragement since my injury. It feels good to know that you are not forgotten even after all those years.
A permanently disabling injury can really turn someone’s life upside down and it is very important to know that there is help when it is needed.
I would like to thank the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund Board for continuing to grow this program to make it permanent so that one day assistance to these jockeys will always be there. I would like to thank everyone in racing that supports this program each year to maintain the level of funding that is needed to keep this fund strong. I encourage those that have not supported this program to reconsider because of the good work that is being done. In particular I would like to thank the fans of racing who support this sport and its athletes.
Very truly yours,
Ron Turcotte, Hall of Fame Jockey