The Exceller Fund wants its supporters to have some skin in the game.
So this week, in a unique bid to boost its membership, the Thoroughbred retirement foundation raffled off a 10-percent honorary share in the race filly Great Cross, the daughter of Kitten’s Joy.
New and longtime members were entered in a raffle to own a part of a racehorse for six months, and get a taste for all the perks that go along with it, says Nicole Smith, executive director of volunteers for the Exceller Fund.
And late afternoon yesterday, Smith announced that member Holly Walker had won the raffle.
“It was the idea of our board member Gary Contessa, who owns a 50-percent share in her,” Smith says. “We were looking for ways to get members more involved in the industry, and to feel more connected to us than they would if they just mail a check to help horses they’ll never see.”
This way, with a horse to follow, the lucky winner can enjoy all the perks of ownership, including a share in any winnings on the track. And if the winner visits the racetrack, he or she will be invited to watch the workouts, sit in the owner’s box, and should there be a victory, be posed alongside the winning filly in the Winner’s Circle, she says.
Great Cross is scheduled to run tomorrow, Oct. 4, at Belmont Park, in the seventh race. She starts from gate position seven in the $65,000 maiden claiming race.
In other news, Exceller Fund members recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of Exceller’s big win of the Jockey Club Gold Cup over Triple Crown champions Affirmed and Seattle Slew.
On Sept. 28, the great horse was toasted during a ceremony that recognized the racehorse’s accomplishments in the racing industry, and acknowledged the animal’s eventual death in a slaughterhouse.
“Exceller’s death in a slaughterhouse acted as the catalyst of awareness about the plight of so many racehorses, instigating the start of many aftercare organizations,” says Smith, who adds that the Exceller Fund pays particular attention to helping its “racing warriors,” those “unsung” racehorses who have knocked out years on the track.