The William Stamps Farish Fund of Houston, Texas, recently committed $2 million to two deserving organizations in racing. One institution is the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. The other recipient is the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, the historical repository and showcase for Thoroughbred racing in Saratoga, Springs, New York, across Union Avenue from the storied Saratoga racetrack.

The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) will receive $1 million from the Farish Fund in four equal installments. The PDJF was established in 2006 and it was seeded monetarily by racetracks and other donors. It is “committed to working with both industry and medical research groups to improve the safety of both the human and equine athlete as well as medical research projects dedicated to reducing catastrophic injuries.” The PDJF’s eight-member board comes from a cross-section of racing-industry organizations. Currently, the PDJF helps to support about 60 needy former jockeys.

Racing fans are very familiar with the story of Secretariat. His jockey, Ron Turcotte, was tragically disabled in a racing incident and today is in a wheel chair. He uses his celebrity to help the PDJF to raise money for others like him, who are much less well known.

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame was founded in 1950 and was originally housed in the Canfield Casino in a park in downtown Saratoga Springs.  Today, it draws 35,000 visitors annually and presents about 75 programs for racing fans, artists, elementary school students, and others.  The Museum’s Hall of Fame enshrines Thoroughbred racing’s premier horses, trainers, and jockeys.

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame has a goal of increasing its endowment from $3 million to $10 million and the Farish gift kicks off the fundraising drive. The contribution is contingent on the Museum raising at least $6 million from other sources.

William S. Farish is the president of the William Stamps Farish Fund and is the owner of the world-renowned Lane’s End Farm with locations in Woodford County, Kentucky, and Hempstead, Texas. He has held prominent positions in many of the established for-profit and non-profit organizations in the Thoroughbred industry and was US Ambassador to Great Britain during the cowardly terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001.

The Farish Fund donations will hopefully prompt an abundance of contributions, of all sizes, to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Mr. Farish is giving back very generously to the industry/sport in which he has spent much of his life.

Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, PO Box 803, Elmhurst, IL 60126. Phone 630-595-7660.

National Museum of Racing, 191 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Phone 800-562-5394.

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