Last night was the Inaugural Lone Star Park Jockeys Charitable Softball Game with the proceeds to benefit the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund. It was slated to be the Clash of the Racing Titans: the jockeys against Lone Star Park management. For a modest $5 donation, racing fans would be treated to an incredible display of athletic prowess and mastery.
Unable to attend the event, this morning I anxiously scanned the local media, press releases, and various blogs only to discover that apparently the charity softball game was not considered newsworthy. There were no reports or reviews – not even a twitter. I had looked forward to reading something like,
Cliff Berry made a spectacular leaping catch against the centerfield wall to deny Drew Shubeck the game-winning home run!
Lone Star’s Director of Communication, Dan Leary, charged the mound after getting beaned by pitcher, jockey Larry Taylor. Taylor, undaunted, put Leary in a headlock reminiscent of the Nolan Ryan-Robin Ventura altercation from 15 years ago.
Well, whatever the outcome to the charity event, it was all for a good cause. The Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund was founded by Chris McCarron and his wife, Judy, and comedian Tim Conway. The Fund provides financial assistance to injured and disabled riders. The Fund was named in honor of the late jockey, Don MacBeth, who, according to the Fund’s website, "lived his life on principle and spent much of his time trying to help those less fortunate than he." MacBeth passed away in 1987 – long before I ever ventured to a racetrack. A native of Canada, MacBeth had number of notable mounts during his career, such as Deputy Minister and Chief’s Crown. He had also been the recipient of the George Woolf Memorial Award and was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
Anyway, I presume that the softball extravaganza last night actually coincides with the Fund’s 21st Annual National Fundraiser, Jockeys Across America, on July 4th. Individual tracks have their own schedule of events. Canterbury Park, for example, is hosting a weekend event that includes a silent auction on Friday and Saturday, a one dollar donation to the Fund for each paid admission on Sunday, and a great opportunity to heckle Ted.
Check your local racetrack for details. Perhaps there’s a Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund Texas Hold ‘Em charity tournament coming to a track near you. And feel free to twitter about it.