Local News

Jockeys hold annual toy drive at Indiana Grand

Collecting toys for local children has become an annual event at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. As the 2021 racing season winds down, this year’s jockey colony brought in over 75 new toys to distribute to area children just in time for the holiday season.

“We just want to see everybody have a good Christmas,” said Tommy Pompell, who owns a home locally in Shelbyville, Indiana. “It means a lot for us to all come together like this for these kids in our area.”

The jockeys gathered after the third race Wednesday at Indiana Grand and surrounded the pile of donated items that will be distributed to local children in need. Twelve of the jockeys joined Rachel McLaughlin, on-air racing analyst, for the presentation in the paddock. Jockeys included in the presentation were Jose Riquelme, Santo Sanjur, Marcelino Pedroza Jr., Alex Achard, Andrea Rodriguez, Tommy Pompell, Perry Ouzts, Rodney Prescott, Joe Ramos, DeShawn Parker, Agustin Bracho and Joshua Morales.

Many of the jockeys grew up in countries where presents were sometimes not available around the holidays. Being able to share happiness during the holidays has become very important to them.

Alex Achard, a native of France, may be a long way from home, but he still knows how important it is to give back to the community he calls home six months out of the year. Achard donated several toys to the drive with hopes it will put smiles on the faces of kids around Christmas.

“It is a pleasure to help kids who need a little help,” said Achard. “For us, it is not much to do, but we hope for them it will mean a lot. We hope to give brightness to their Christmas.”

The 20th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing at Indiana Grand is scheduled to start on April 19, 2022.