On Monday night, Saratoga’s jockey colony turned out in full force to sing for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. This karaoke event, first held during the Keeneland meets, was moved to Saratoga this year, in part, said jockey John Velazquez, to take advantage of the notice that racing gets here, and to increase awareness of the plight of disabled jockeys.
There were 10 performances, with judges appraising each, along with a people’s choice award. If there were an award for most enthusiastic participant, it might have been Kent Desormeaux, who exhorted the crowd to sing along (“Do this last one with us!”); Desormeaux showed similar spirit at the basketball and softball games earlier this year, embarcing the opportunity to participate and keeping up good-natured patter throughout. Desormeaux was also a driving force behind the jockeys’ calendar, which raises money for the PDJF.
And if anyone’s listening: please, do something with Freddie Lenclud. He’s engaging and funny and charismatic, and he lights up a stage. Market this young man, please.
Below is a selection of photos and video; apologies for the poor quality, but you’ll get a sense of the performances. (I learned that one should not try to dance while taking video.) The really good photos were taken by Dave Harmon of the Stadium Cafés in Saratoga; in addition to owning the restaurants, Dave is also an accredited photographer at many racing events. Last week, he gave over his Broadway restaurant to the jockeys for a cook-off that raised $10,000 for the PDJF; attendees voted Javier Castellano’s ahi tuna entrée the best offering.
Dave has graciously given me permission to post these photos here; if you’re interested in posting them elsewhere, please contact me.
Enjoy…and as always, click to enlarge…