Each year, the jockeys at Horseshoe Indianapolis collect toys for area children in need. This year, more than 70 toys will be donated to the Shelby County CASA (Court Appointed State Advocates) for kids displaced in current home situations.
This is the eighth year for the Jockey Toy Drive at Horseshoe Indianapolis.
“This toy drive is a great thing we do because we are helping a lot of kids who don’t have the opportunity to enjoy Christmas every year,” said DeShawn Parker, winner of more than 6,000 career races. “It makes all of us feel good to do something as a group to help out each year.”
The jockeys come together for various causes throughout the year. In addition to the annual toy drive, they also raised funds for PDJF (Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund) and for HVAF (Hoosier Veterans and Families) Inc. of Indiana. It was the second time they have donated peanut butter to the pantry in Central Indiana for homeless veterans.
“It’s nice to help and I want to help out whenever I can,” added Marcelino Pedroza Jr., who is a three-time leading jockey at Horseshoe Indianapolis. “Giving back is important to me. It’s the way I was raised, and I want to help any way I can. I hope we can brighten the day of a few kids this Christmas.”
Several jockeys brought in toys for the drive.
Pictured with the toys during the Tuesday, Nov. 22 racing program included Jon Court, Sammy Bermudez, Rafael Mojica Jr. Joshua Morales, Fernando De La Cruz, Victor Bailon, Rodney Prescott, Joe Ramos, DeShawn Parker, Marcelino Pedroza Jr. Gage Holmes, Rolando Pina, Juan Marquez, and Santo Sanjur.
Rachel McLaughlin, on-air racing broadcaster for Horseshoe Indianapolis, conducted the presentation in the paddock.