June 6, 2015;Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
Corrections: To pull the hooves out of our mouths, we’d like to assert that Bob Baffert is the trainer of the prizewinning American Pharoah, not the owners. The horse’s owner is Ahmed Zayat. Moreover, Jill Baffert is not herself a horse trainer; she’s a former news reporter for a Louisville, KY television station.
When Victor Espinoza rode American Pharoah to the first Triple Crown win in 37 years on Saturday, three charities found themselves that much richer. Trainer Bob Baffert and his wife Jill announced they would make three gifts of $50,000 to charity after Belmont. One will go to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, in memory of Bobby Adair, an American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame jockey who died last month. One will go to the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA), which raises money to support retired California racehorses, and one to Old Friends, where Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Silver Charm recently retired.
“I want to share this, I want to make sure that those horses that we really love, we have to take care of them,” Bob Baffert said. “Win, lose, or draw, I was going to do it.”
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Jockey Victor Espinoza is also donating his winnings.
“At the wire I was like, ‘I cannot believe I did it,’” Espinoza said. “I [won] the Triple Crown race now, but I didn’t make any money, because I donated my money to the City of Hope.”
According to Newsday, Espinoza is in the habit of devoting 10 percent of his winnings to the City of Hope cancer center, “I just saw one kid with that disease and that’s how I changed my life. I changed the way I think. Pretty much I changed everything,” he said. “For me, health is No. 1.”
“The kids 6 years old, 10 years old, it’s just heartbreaking,” the 43-year-old jockey said. “They have no idea what they’re missing in life. But believe it or not, they’re the happiest people. When I went to visit them twice, it was amazing to see them, how happy they were.”—Ruth McCambridge