CHICAGO – Saratoga jockeys are gearing up not only for the prestigious summertime meet in upstate New York, but will again battle for bragging rights as best (or worst) singer when they take to the stage for the 6th annual “Riders Up!” jockey karaoke contest. This year’s show will be held Mon., Aug. 1 at Vapor Night Club inside Saratoga Casino & Raceway, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Costumes, crooning and craziness abound at this yearly fundraiser to support the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund (PDJF). Jockeys scheduled to appear include: Junior Alvarado, Kendrick Carmouche, Javier Castellano, Angel Cruz, Manny Franco, Aaron Gryder, Julien Leparoux, Mike Luzzi, Irad and Jose Ortiz, Joel Rosario, John Velazquez and others from the Saratoga jockey colony, with surprise guest performances. Returning to the judge’s table this year are trainers H. Graham Motion and Todd Pletcher, with two other guest judges to be announced. Former NYRA track announcer Tom Durkin, always quick with a quip or light-hearted dig at the competitors, will emcee.
“Jockeys are highly competitive, especially at Saratoga, and that drive carries over into the karaoke contest,” said PDJF Board Member John Velazquez. “It’s really fun but we take it seriously, too. We all have a good time but everybody wants to win.”
Advance tickets are available online. V.I.P. tickets ($150) include early (5:30 p.m.) admission to the venue, a private buffet dinner with the jockeys, and preferred seating close to the stage. General admission tickets are $75 (7:00 p.m. entry). Vapor Night Club is located at 342 Jefferson Street in Saratoga Springs. The show begins at 7:45 p.m. Everyone is invited to enjoy silent and live auctions of racing memorabilia, dancing and a cash bar. Patrons must be 21 years of age or older to enter the premises.
Event sponsors are also being sought; click here or call 630-595-7655. Four tiers of sponsorship are available and include such perks as private seating, signage, dinner with jockeys and more.
The PDJF is a 501(c)(3) charity that provides financial assistance to 61 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries and are consequently wheel chair dependent. Founded in 2006, the PDJF has disbursed more than $7 million to permanently disabled jockeys, most of whom have sustained paralysis or traumatic brain injuries. The Fund is a cooperative effort among race tracks, jockeys, horsemen, owners, and racing fans. Visit www.pdjf.org for further information.