The New York Racing Association’s historic Saratoga Race Course will unite with racetracks across the country on Saturday with autograph signings, photo opportunities and the first jockey foot race in 20 years at the Spa as part of the first Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund (PDJF) Day Across America.
Every jockey riding at Saratoga on Saturday will be available during a one-hour autograph session outside the silks room beginning at 11:30 a.m. For a $5 donation to the PDJF, fans can receive autographs from Hall of Famers and rising stars alike, including John Velazquez, Edgar Prado, Javier Castellano, Rosie Napravnik, Rajiv Maragh, Jose and Irad Ortiz, Jr., Julien Leparoux, Taylor Rice and Joel Rosario.
Later in the day, a field of 13 jockeys will break from the starting gate and compete in a one-half furlong foot race on the main track. For a $5 donation, guests will be able to “bet” on their choice and be entered for a chance to win a VIP Day at the Races for two on Travers Day, August 23 along with other prizes. Filiberto Leon won the last jockey foot race at Saratoga in a photo finish over Velazquez in 1995.
Post position for the jockey race will be drawn on Wednesday, July 23.
“PDJF is not just an industry acronym or letters on a ball cap,” said Velazquez, chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild and a PDJF board member. “This organization is dedicated to improving the lives and welfare of men and women who face lifelong challenges due to their disabilities. They can no longer complete or provide adequately for their families. PDJF Day Across America is an opportunity to educate our fans about the PDJF and emphasize the importance of raising funds.