Photo by Eclipse Sportswire
On July 26, the first annual First Annual Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund (PDJF) Day Across America will take place at tracks across America.
The PDJF has contacted every track in the U.S. running races that Saturday, a number totaling over 30 Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse tracks, with the goal of raising awareness of the PDJF with fans.
“We have contacted each race track that will be running on July 26th and have had a positive response that will raise funds for, and awareness of, the PDJF,” said Scott Wells, president of Thoroughbred Racing Associations. “Our goal is to educate our sport’s fans that the PDJF is a charity that must be sustained for the welfare of disabled riders and their families.”
The theme of the day will be “Taking The Reins” and tracks are looking at including autograph sessions and photo opportunities in addition to other fan-friendly activities with their local jockey colonies. It is planned to make the day an annual event for the PDJF with the organization also hopeful that tracks will continue to educate patrons about PDJF throughout the year.
PDJF will provide signage and marketing ideas for tracks but are also encouraging them to come up with some of their own ideas for the event.
The PDJF is a 501(c)(3) charity that provides financial assistance to former jockeys who suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. Since being founded in 2006, the PDJF has provided more than $3 million to permanently disabled jockeys with many suffering paralysis or brain injuries due to on-track accidents. The fund is a cooperative effort between racetracks, jockeys, horsemen, and fans.
“PDJF is not just an industry acronym or letters on a ball cap,” said John Velazquez, a Hall of Fame rider, Chairman of Jockeys’ Guild and PDJF Board member. “This organization is dedicated to improving the lives and welfare of the men and women who face lifelong challenges due to their disabilities. They can no longer compete or provide adequately for their families. PDJF Day Across America is an opportunity to educate our fans about the PDJF and emphasize the importance of raising funds.”
To learn more about the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund, fans can visit www.pdjf.org.