Indiana Grand Jockeys Score Big for PDJF

The track's Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse riders raise funds July 29-31.

Edited press release

Several members of Indiana Grand's jockey colony participated in a tug of war during the "Racing Across America' fundraiser for the PDJF. PHOTO: Linscott Photography

The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) hosted its fourth “Racing Across America” event from July 29-31, as more than 30 tracks throughout North America parrticipated in the annual event.

Jockeys from Indiana Grand hosted their event on July 29, featuring a dunk tank, tug of war, foot race from the starting gate and “pass the boot” sessions to help the cause. 

PDJF currently serves 60 disabled jockeys, most of whom incurred either paralysis or brain damage due to racing incidents on the track. The local jockey colony knows the importance of supporting such a worthwhile cause and dedicated their time and resources to “Racing Across America.” 

Erica Murray, Alex Contreras and Diego Rodriguez all went through the apron area with a jock’s boot to get donations from fans. As a result, more than $162.00 was collected from the public.

The jockeys continued the momentum with a foot race following the second race on the program. Leandro Goncalves got out of the gate quick and had the early lead, but it was Malcolm Franklin who surged to the lead halfway through the race and took home the title. Goncalves was second followed by Jose Beltran for third, Constantino Roman for fourth and Katie Clawson for fifth. Other starters in the foot race included Erica Murray, Mari Rodriguez, Marcelino Pedroza, Oscar Macias, Leonel Bolanos and Giovani Vazquez-Gomez.

The trio of Vazquez-Gomez, Macias, Bolanos and Rolando Pina were the first to get in the dunk tank. Other jockeys who spent time in the tank included Rodney Prescott, Erica Murray, Richard Bracho, and Indiana Grand’s on-air racing analyst Rachel McLaughlin. A total of $181.00 was raised for PDJF through the Dunk Tank. 

The final event of the night was a tug-of-war between the jockeys and the track maintenance crew. Members of the track maintenance crew arrived in style for the battle, pulling up on the water trucks and tractors in a convoy with hopes of sending some intimidation to the jockeys. However, the jockeys were up to the task for the fourth straight year, defeating the track maintenance crew and retaining their title.

Jockeys participating in the tug of war were Richard Bracho, Rolando Pina, Oscar Macias, Eddie Perez, Giovani Vazquez-Gomez, DeShawn Parker, Constantino Roman, Malcolm Franklin, Katie Clawson, Tommy Pompell, Marcelino Pedroza and Rodney Prescott. The total weight of the jockeys was 1,220 pounds going against the track maintenance crew that had a total weight of 1,247 pounds. Steve Cahill, clerk of scales, served as the coach for the jockeys while Roy Smith, track superintendent, was the coach for the track maintenance team. 

The PDJF fundraiser was paired with “Back to School Night,” which included a drawing for 14 backpacks filled with school supplies, donated by the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. There was also a drawing for an iPad, also donated by the local chapter of the HBPA.

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