By Blood-Horse Staff
Updated: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 9:02 PM
Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 8:33 PM
Jockey Victor Espinoza plans to donate 100% of his earnings for the week beginning Aug. 10 at the Del Mar race meet to the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation, to be used exclusively to assist Southern California racetrack grooms.
CTHF is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in the community of stable workers occupied with the care of Thoroughbred racehorses at California’s major racetracks, fair circuit tracks, and state recognized off-track training centers. CTHF administers medical and dental services through its on-track clinics, making health care accessible and affordable for more than 5,000 backstretch workers and their families.
“Everybody has done a lot of things for different foundations, but I never hear about anybody doing something just for the grooms,” said Espinoza. “The grooms are important for everybody in horse racing; they take care of the horses more than anybody, sometimes 24 hours a day,” he continued. “If a horse gets sick at midnight, who’s going to be there? The groom has to get up. But if the grooms are sick, they can’t take care of the horses.”
Espinoza initially contacted Madeline Auerbach, an owner and longtime friend who recently accepted an appointment to the CTHF advisory board.
“Victor came to me and said, ‘I want to do something for the grooms. Can you help me do it?’ and I thought CTHF would be a good fit,” said Auerbach.
“Victor is not only a great guy and very talented journeyman, but he actually cares about the racing community,” she added. “He has tremendous respect for the grooms and understands that what they bring to the sport really makes a difference. To be honest, a good groom can make the difference between winning and losing.”