The third annual Leg Up Fund Day at the Races will take place Sunday, June 26, at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. The Leg Up Fund is a permanent fund that provides emergency financial assistance to jockeys injured in the performance of their profession at Canterbury Park. The assistance is provided to riders that need help during the recovery process, hence the name “Leg Up,” which is a phrase used in racing referring to a jockey being assisted or ‘legged up’ onto his mount for an upcoming race. The Leg Up Fund was established in 2014 by Minnesota’s Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing organizations along with racetrack officials and members of the jockey colony.
During Sunday’s 10-race program, various activities are planned to involve race fans in the effort to raise awareness and money for the fund. Thus far, Leg Up Fund has assisted four riders.
“Ideally the Leg Up Fund would grow and we would never need to use it,” jockey Dean Butler said. “But we know that is not the reality. Jockeys get injured occasionally and insurance is often unaffordable in this line of work. When jockeys can’t ride, they have no income. We really appreciate the fans’ support and their understanding of the importance of the fund. Minnesota race fans have always supported the jockeys.”
Jockeys themselves contribute to the fund each day on a voluntary per-mount basis and horse owners match that contribution. There are multiple opportunities on Sunday for race fans to show their support, including:
*Sponsoring a jockey
*Jockey autograph and photo session
*A silent auction that will include items from local businesses as well as art prints and the opportunity to dine with jockeys
*Live auction for TV and Scooter
*Kids’ horseshoe toss
The importance of the Leg Up Fund was illustrated earlier this month when jockey Hugo Sanchez was unseated at the beginning of a race, resulting in a broken leg and need for surgery. Sanchez will be out of work, and without an income, for several months as he recuperates. The Leg Up Fund will be a resource during the process.