Disaster Relief Fund Soars to $5.7 Million

In an unprecedented show of compassion from the Thoroughbred community, contributions to the disaster relief fund organized by Keeneland have soared to $5.7 million, Keeneland President Nick Nicholson revealed today in an interim progress report on the fund.

Contributions have ranged from $10 ... to hundreds of thousands of dollars ... to $5 million pledged by Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sheikh Mohammed breeds and races Thoroughbreds throughout the world and has purchased horses at Keeneland since the early 1980s. He also is the Crown Prince of Dubai and is the Minister of Defense of the United Arab Emirates.

"Sheikh Mohammed was deeply touched by the tragic events and the recovery and relief efforts that followed," said Nicholson. "His donation is a wonderfully generous display of leadership and humanity."

Keeneland was minutes away from starting the second session of its 13-day September Yearling Sale when terrorists initiated an attack on America. The Tuesday, September 11, session was postponed. The auction resumed on Wednesday following an announcement that Keeneland, in conjunction with buyers and sellers, had organized a relief fund that would be forwarded to the American Red Cross.

"Literally on the spur of that awful moment -- Keeneland volunteered to administer and coordinate a relief fund for the American Red Cross," said Nicholson. "To be honest, there was no planning, no goal, no structure. Just an immediate, human reaction to do something."

Everyone from employees in the barns to the industry's largest investors has embraced the fund.

"From buyers to consignors, farm workers to Keeneland employees, the entire Thoroughbred community responded with compassion and generosity. We can't thank them enough for their contributions to the fund," Nicholson said.

Nicholson believes that the example Sheikh Mohammed and the other contributors have shown is a great lesson for everyone.

"The unmistakable conclusion is simple, yet profound," said Nicholson. "Across the planet, despite our differences, those things we have in common are much greater than those that separate us."

Anyone wishing to contribute to the relief fund, please contact the Keeneland Association at 800/456-3412.

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The Blood-Horse Staff

The Blood-Horse is the leading weekly publication devoted to international Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Since 1916, the staff of The Blood-Horse has served the Thoroughbred community with the highest standards of journalistic excellence to provide comprehensive and timely editorial coverage and analysis.

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