Riders from Louisiana joined with local jockeys to raise $25,168 for hurricane victims on Thursday night at the Meadowlands. Riders from Louisiana joined with local jockeys to raise $25,168 for hurricane victims on Thursday night at the Meadowlands.
The Katrina Invitational Jockey Challenge drew Louisiana natives Kent Desormeaux, Craig Perret, Mark Guidry, Eddie Martin Jr. and Hall of Famer Gary Stevens as well as members of the local jockey colony who signed autographs. The jockey fees from four races – the third, fourth, sixth and seventh races – contributed to the fundraising effort along with $10,000 donated by the Meadowlands.
Racing fans and horsemen at the Meadowlands kicked in $2,790 with $12,378 from riding fees.
“I just want to thank the Meadowlands fans for digging in your pockets and reaching deep and having some heart and helping these people to have a little bit of comfort time when we show up with some money for them,” said Kent Desormeaux, who was elected to racing’s Hall of Fame in 2004.
The money raised will be turned over to the Race Track Chaplaincy program to benefit Louisiana horsemen.
“What it means to me is that the families whose lives weren’t just interrupted, they were altered,” noted Desormeaux, a 35-year-old native of Maurice, Louisiana. “Their houses are gone. They’re living in someone else’s home. These people aren’t going to have to wonder where they’re going to buy their next bottle of milk for their babies. We’re going to be presenting them in their hands, we’re going to give them money. And they’re going to know that for at least a little while that their child can be fed.
“Jockeys as a whole, we’re the kind of guys, unlike basketball players, we’re all on different teams really,” Desormeaux said. “We all go back to the same room. It gets ugly sometimes. We just got battled out in a Breeders’ Cup, and somebody might not have liked the position you put them in. But when the races are over, it’s like ‘good job, buddy, see you tomorrow.’ I’m proud of the guys for showing up. That’s the kind of rapport that jockeys have.”
The visiting jockeys opted to ride one race – the third race — to allow more time for autographing and meeting the public.