Triple Crown Jockey Donates Winnings To Charity
In June 2015, American Pharoah made headlines as the first horse in 37 years to win three major racing events in a year: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. Coming first at Belmont Stakes earned her and jockey Victor Espinoza the “Triple Crown” title, and the adoration of many fans.
Espinoza also received a reported US$80,000 (AUD$103,585) from the final win at Belmont, all of which he pledged to donate to charity.
“I won the Triple Crown right now, but I don’t make any money because I’m donating all the money to the City of Hope,” he told media after the race.
City of Hope is a California-based leading research treatment centre for life threatening diseases including cancer, HIV and diabetes. It’s also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network in the US, which has advanced cancer care throughout the country through ongoing research and treatment protocols.
City of Hope says Espinoza has a record of supporting it and “often visits City of Hope campus, sharing smiles, gifts and stories of his more than 3,200 career victories with patients”.
The racehorse jockey has come from humble beginnings in Mexico, where he began training horses as a teen and paid for jockey school by driving a bus. He moved to the US in 1994, but it was another six years before he got his big break, winning the Breeders Cup Distaff in Spain. He went on to average almost 200 wins a year and has previously tried for the Triple Crown twice before his third-time-lucky win in 2015.
In a statement for City of Hope, Espinoza explains why he wanted to give all his Belmont Stakes money to the charity.
“Good health — that’s what I want for everyone. With good health, people can enjoy life and do those things that make them happy,” he says.
“By working to defeat cancer, City of Hope’s researchers and doctors are bringing a greater chance of health and happiness to people everywhere.”