Two days after winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic aboard Mucho Macho Man, leading US jockey Gary Stevens pledged a portion of his purse winnings to a Texas Thoroughbred charity seeking to better treat injured racehorses.
Remember Me Rescue President Donna Keen announced this week that the top-winning jockey and his wife Angie Stevens pledged $5,000 to the horse charity; the funds will go toward the purchase of an expensive piece of equipment to help racehorses recover from racing injuries such as bowed tendons.
Keen is actively fundraising to buy a $60,000 cold, salt-water spa to treat the injuries of ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds coming to her sprawling Texas facility for rehabilitation, training, and re-homing.
Such a spa would drastically reduce recuperation time, which often takes as much as a year, and enable Keen to re-train and re-home horses more quickly. And the quicker an animal can be moved on to a new home, the more horses she can accept into her program, she reasons.
Her facility re-homed nearly 100 horses so far this year, and approximately 90 last year, she says, noting that her goal is to help even more horses find homes through faster treatment of their tendon injuries.
Stevens’ pledge to her facility was a blessing, one she hopes will encourage other prospective donors to follow his lead, Keen says.
“When he first told us he wanted to give us a check for $5,000, he said he wanted it to be anonymous. So my husband Dallas got on the phone and said, ‘Gary, when people like you do a donation, we have to tell people. It inspires people to give to their charities. It’s important for people to know.’ He wasn’t a big fan of the idea of us telling people—he’s so humble, but he really loves the horses.”
The Hall of Fame jockey, who is also a well-respected sports broadcaster, has been a good friend to Remember Me Rescue.
He recently allowed the horse charity to quote his great love for the horse on their landing page:
“Each and every horse I rode in my career helped make my career. Each one meant something to me, whether it was a low-level claimer or a Derby winner. Every horse deserves a happy life at the end of their racing career. Unfortunately, most don’t get one. Remember Me Rescue can make a difference by giving horses the happy life they deserve after their racing career,” Stevens states on the charity’s website.
Buoyed by Stevens surprise donation, Keen says she is hopeful that others will follow his example, and donate toward the purchase of the cold, salt-water spa.
“If we can get 10 people to do what Gary Stevens did, we’re there,” she says. “This machine would help us drastically reduce the time that it takes to rehabilitate our horses; some with bowed tendons need almost a year off before we can retrain them.”