Local Sports

Jockeys, team members support PDJF at Indiana Grand

Indiana Grand team members, jockeys, horsemen and racing fans came together Thursday to celebrate and support the national weekend for PDJF Racing Across America and Back to School.

The event, celebrated at tracks across the nation this weekend, brings funding and awareness to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). The event also marks the 31st anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in honor of National Disability Independence Day.

Jockeys participated in several events during the day in support of PDJF including a foot race from the starting gate. Quarter Horse jockey German Rodriguez closed in late in the 50-yard dash to overtake Dex Mitchell for the win with Sammy Bermudez, a three-time Jockey Foot Race winner, finishing third. Other participants included Elias Vallejo, Joe Ramos, Sammy Mendez, Danny Martinez and Andres Ulloa.

The popular Tug of War (photo) between the jockeys and the track crew was up next. The jockeys, who are undefeated against several different groups in the area, including the local firemen and the police, brought in what they hoped would be a secret weapon as Carl Brown, valet, stepped in as their anchor and put the end loop around his waist.

The opposing teams got in place. Three seconds into the pull, the rope broke right in front of Brown, sending jockey Natasha Fritz flying to the ground and sending the win over to the track maintenance crew.

Representing the jockey tug of war team were Brown, Edgar Morales, Rodney Prescott, Elias Vallejo, Giovani Vasquez-Gomez, Alex Achard, Sammy Mendez, German Rodriguez and Natasha Fritz.



All participants from both teams gathered for a group photo following the event. The teams joined Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager of racing, for a check presentation of $2,500 from Indiana Grand to PDJF.

PDJF Racing Across America was co-sponsored by Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) with Back to School activities. The organization provided 10 backpack giveaways complete with water bottles and one iPad drawing. Logan King was the winner of the iPad as local kids prepare to return to school next week.