Hilarious Jockey Karaoke Raises $50K

A sell-out crowd applauded, cheered, and good-naturedly jeered some of the most famous jockeys in the world as they put themselves in the spotlight to raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund during a Riders Up! fundraiser on Friday, April 17, at Keeneland race course's Entertainment Center in Lexington, Ky. The karaoke competition was filled with surprises.

Lexington's own Broadway star Laura Bell Bundy served as emcee. An American Idol-like panel of celebrity judges included country singer Eddie Montgomery and his wife, Tracy; Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell; local media personality DeAnn Stephens; and Todd Schrupp of TVG. The local Western swing band "Trouble" provided pre-party entertainment and backed Bundy and the jockeys.

“I want to thank all the sponsors who made it possible," said Keeneland President and CEO Nick Nicholson. "This was a fabulous event, and we’re thrilled to have raised this much money for such a worthy cause. Not only was it a great cause, it was a great time, too. The jockeys, the crowd, the judges—everyone really got into the spirit of the evening. I can see this growing into one of our signature events.”

Sponsored by Keeneland and the Jockeys’ Guild, Riders Up! was made possible in part through sponsorships that accounted for some $30,000 of the total raised. Gold sponsors were: Darley, Ramsey Farm and Breeders’ Cup; Silver sponsors were WinStar Farm and Vinery; and Bronze sponsors were Denali Stud, Equibase, Meyocks and O’Hara Racing, Padua Stables, and Shadwell Farms. Another $20,000 was raised via ticket sales and donations, including a $10,000 donation from Mark Hoffman, co-owner of Ashland Stakes winner Hooh Why.

Cornett Advertising, Thoroughbred Printing, MSI Production Services, Turf Catering, and the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance offered in-kind services.

Currently active and retired jockeys who participated were: Patti Cooksey, Angel Cordero Jr., Jon Court, Pat Day, Kent Desormeaux, Earlie Fires, Alan Garcia, James Graham, Corey Lanerie, Chris McCarron, Dean Mernagh, Edgar Prado, Herbie Rivera Jr., Jamie Theriot, John Velazquez, Charlie Woods, John Oldham, and Jessica Oldham Stith.

And the winners were:

Judge’s Choice Award: Albarado and Rivera for “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” with Albarado receiving accolades for his amazing imitation of Julio Iglesias Jr.

People’s Choice Award (determined by donations from the audience): Cooksey, Court, Day, Fires, McCarron, Oldham, and Woods for “I"m Too Sexy.”

Woods stole the show as he dressed in drag for a rendition of “Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.” while singing to Fires. Then as part of the award-winning jockey choir performing "I'm Too Sexy," Woods (sort of) dressed up as Rod Stewart by donning a blond spiked wig, skin tight T-shirt, and appropriately enhanced leopard-print tights.

The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund provides much-needed financial assistance to jockeys who have suffered catastrophic injuries such as paraplegia and head injuries while performing their services as jockeys. The fund currently provides financial assistance to 60 jockeys and helps with daily living expenses as well as medical expenses and in-home care. Visit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund Web site for more information on this 501 (c)(3) group.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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