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National Thoroughbred Racing Assn.

September 3, 2009

Contact: Eric Wing, NTRA, (914) 434-3529
Jockeys’ Guild, Inc. (859) 305-0606

INJURED JOCKEY MICHAEL STRAIGHT TO BE HONORED SATURDAY

JOCKEYS NATIONALLY ASKED TO DONATE ONE MOUNT FEE TO MEDICAL FEES

Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund decal
 
Jockeys throughout the U.S. and Canada will exhibit their unified show of support for apprentice jockey Michael Straight this Saturday.

Straight was critically injured in a race at Arlington Park on August 26.

Jockeys across the nation are being asked to donate one mount fee Saturday to the Don MacBeth Memorial Fund earmarked for Michael Straight to help defray costs of his long-term needs. They will also be riding with two patches on their boots, one in honor of Michael Straight and the other paying tribute to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) which currently aids 60 permanently disabled jockeys.

Michael Straight decal
 
Straight, a native of East Greenbush, New York, graduated from Chris McCarron’s North American Racing Academy in 2008 and has 39 winners from 372 races.

“We appreciate the generosity of the jockeys, racetracks and fans throughout the country,” said John Velazquez, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jockeys’ Guild. “We think it is important that those who love the sport of racing show support for Michael at this critical time. We are in his corner.

“As jockeys, we want to do our part for those in racing that have been less fortunate,” said jockey Robby Albarado, Member of the Board of Directors of the Jockeys’ Guild.

“The racing industry needs to come together to take care of our own, be they jockeys, exercise riders, grooms or hotwalkers. All those involved in racing,” jockey Mike Smith, a member of the Jockeys’ Guild Senate, added.

“These charities are critical to the industry and the Jockeys’ Guild is donating $7,000 to the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance to help make the sport safer for all involved, both human and equine,” said Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “The industry will never be strong if we can’t provide for those in the industry that need help as a result of life-changing events. Racing seems to be facing this problem now more than ever before and we need to continue on that path.”

The NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, formed last October with the goal of establishing national uniform standards in the areas of safety and integrity, includes 55 racetracks in North America and every major national horsemen’s organization. Alliance certification standards cover five broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication, testing and penalties; and safety research.

“The Jockey’s Guild’s generous contribution will help the Alliance’s ongoing work on a number of fronts, including its commitment to the health and safety of jockeys,” said Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. “This is a wonderful prelude to the Alliance’s national fundraising days, which will take place at racetracks across North America during the Labor Day weekend.”

While contributions for Michael Straight are to be directed to the MacBeth Fund, permanently disabled jockeys depend on the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) for assistance.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael and his family,” said Nancy LaSala, Executive Director of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. “This sport has its inherent risks and we ask that you keep all of those who have met with misfortune in your thoughts.”

Contributions to the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockeys Fund earmarked for Michael Straight should be sent to P.O. Box 18470, Encino, CA 91416. For more information on the MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, please visit www.macbethfund.org.

Donations to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund should be sent to P.O.Box 803, Elmhurst, IL 60126 or information and online contributions can be made at www.pdjf.org.

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