Last Monday, Hall of Fame trainer John Nerud presented a check for $50,000 to the Belmont Child Care Association. A longtime and loyal donor to Anna House, Nerud visits frequently, sharing the stories of his years on the racetrack with the children. Now 98, he told the children that when he started at the track, he worked as a stable hand for one dollar a day; he said that he’s proud to be able to give back to the children of the people who are working as he did many years ago.
“This wonderful place should be visited by everyone in our industry to see what can be done by a group of dedicated people,” he said. “I have more money than days left so it makes me happy to give to such a worthy cause.”
All of us at the BCCA are humbled and touched by Mr. Nerud’s thoughtfulness and generosity.
In other good Anna House news, the expansion is expected to be complete and open by Belmont Stakes weekend.
Also happening Belmont weekend is the first step in Jeremy Edge’s walk from Belmont to Saratoga to raise money for Anna House. Edge has volunteered at Anna House for the past decade, and his walk will benefit the BCCA and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys fund.
Donations can be made at the websites of the Belmont Child Care Association and the PDJF; you can also download this pledge form and mail it in, pledging either a flat amount or an amount per mile walked. You can follow Jeremy’s plans and travels by following on Twitter and by liking the Facebook page TheWalkingBrit.
In some bad news/good news, Michael Blowen of Old Friends recently reached out to the farm’s large community of supporters to share some unexpectedly dismal financial news. According to the organization’s Facebook page, a number of people have already sent donations, and an upcoming fundraiser at the National Museum of Racing offers another opportunity to help.
Planned long before Blowen’s announcement, the annual Kentucky Derby at the Museum will this year support Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division. The party will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Museum, at 191 Union Avenue in Saratoga Springs. Tickets are $60; all proceeds will benefit Old Friends, and the ticket price includes dinner, appetizers and dessert. There will also be a cash bar and mint julep bar.
The Derby will be shown in the Museum’s Hall of Fame Theater on a giant projection screen, as well as in various locations throughout the Museum on high-definition flat screen televisions courtesy of Best Buy.
Further south, Gulfstream recently shared some good news about its own philanthropic activities. On Friday, April 1, the track hosted a cocktail party and auction to benefit Eibar Coa, who was recently released from the hospital following a horrific spill at Gulfstream over the winter, and the Florida Thoroughbred Retirement & Adoptive Care Program (TRAC). The auction raised more than $20,000.
Earlier that week, a golf outing to benefit Coa and TRAC raised more than $50,000.
And on the day of the Wood Memorial, some of the sport’s most unheralded were honored in the fourth race, named for the New York Division of the Race Track Chaplaincy.
Nick Caras, activities coordinator for the Chaplaincy, said that for the past five years, on NYRA’s biggest racing days, NYRA and the Chaplaincy have honored the hotwalker and groom of a horse who wins a designated race, named after the Chaplaincy.
The year’s race was won by Iron Lou, ridden by John Velazquez and trained by Rick Dutrow. The grooms and hotwalkers for the race gathered in the winner’s circle for a special presentation, and hotwalker Florensio Alejo and groomJose Rodriguez were presented with trophies and a $100 gift certificate each. The next such presentation will take place Belmont Stakes weekend, with another to follow at Saratoga on Travers weekend.
Ashley Herriman has regained the lead in our Road to the Roses charity league, the donations to which are up to a whopping $540. She’s led virtually wire to wire, faltering for one week only…with four races left, can she hold on to get the win?
And finally, a very happy birthday to Backstretch nephew Michael, who was born 14 years ago today.