The Jockey for a Cause benefit is to raise funds for former riders that are in need. A racehorse owner Jeff DeHaven will host the first benefit on July 18 at his home that will help raise money to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation.
DeHaven stated, "There are some 2,000 jockeys in the United States, and they have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world," and went on to say, "Many of them have to work without adequate health insurance, life insurance or retirement funds, which puts a severe hardship on them and their families. I want this event to help make their lives easier."
He explained that the charities he supports are at this time helping 56 riders with the majority of them in wheelchairs and some being permanently disabled. Each will receive $300 to $1,000 a month from the organizations which is his opinion does not make much sense from an industry that makes billions.
"These guys work 24/7; they shouldn’t be struggling that much," he stated. "That’s why I’m doing the party."
The urgent need to help these riders was noted during the previous week when jockey Jorge Herrera was thrown from his mount and died at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton.
It is expected that 700 people will attend the fundraiser that begins at 6pm and includes several A-list celebrities, which have not been announced at this time along with some of the elite of thoroughbred racing and professional athletes from different sports as noted by DeHaven.
He is asking that anyone that has every made a bet or even watched a horse race should attend the event and help support the jockeys.
"As an owner, I’m basically making an attempt to bring all of the industry (trainers, owners, jockeys, veterinarians, etc.) together at one event and recognize all of our responsibilities, and to make sure these people and their families are taken care of when they need us," DeHaven stated.
DeHaven, 54 years old, has been involved in the racing industry on and off since 1987. Brian Boudreau, was instrumental in introducing DeHaven to the sport, being the owner of the thoroughbred breeding facility Malibu Valley Farms in Calabasas. The first starter they owned together was Seismic Wave was 3rd in a Group 2 event held in England.
"I fell in love with the sport," DeHaven stated. "I feel absolutely blessed to be involved, and (to know) the people associated with it."
DeHaven’s horses are unmistakable at the track featuring Charger colors and logo. He was born in Albany close to the Golden Gate Fields racetrack and grew up in Northern California. He stated that the real estate developers in the area based in Stockton did quite a bit for the community and when they purchased the Chargers football team, DeHaven changes his allegiance from the Rams to be a Charger fan.
He stated that over the years he has owned around 50 to 60 racehorses mainly by himself but in some casts in partnerships with 2 or 3 individuals. Among some of his successful runners you will find Regal Thunder, winner of the 1999 Pat O’Brien Handicap and the eighth-place finisher in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint; Sicy d’Alsace, who won the San Clemente Handicap in 1998; Sayarshan, 1999 Golden Gate Handicap and Del Mar Handicap victor; and stakes runner True Religion.
He explained that he prefers to breed and race his own horses and has quite a few mares at the Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Kentucky including Lacy Lady, Eau de Vie, a daughter of Accusation; and Accusation, dam of the stakes-placed Innocent Man. Latin Lashes is in layup at Jenny Craig’s Rancho Paseana in Rancho Santa Fe.
Breeding just may run in the family, as his 13 year old daughter, Savannah, makes suggestions on mating and even naming of the foals.
DeHaven stated his more memorable moment in racing was when the Pat O’Brien was won by Regal Thunder. The gelding was on a losing streak and the public had him at 17-1 odds that day. Jockey Chris Antley believed in Regal Thunder and stated to him just before the race, "I guarantee I won’t lose on this horse today." It was a battle to the finish, and Regal Thunder prevailed by a nose over Christmas Boy.
Racing does have its highs and lows, his most disappointing moment was when Savarshan was injured when a tendon was bowed while on track for a start during the 1999 Breeders Cup.
At this time, DeHaven has 5 horses in training with Julio Canani which includes a 3-year-old filly DeHaven claimed at Belmont Park in New York; an unraced 2-year-old filly named Secret Motive; an unraced 2-year-old colt named for the clothing line of DeHaven’s late friend, local football legend Junior Seau; Prettypriceygirl, a 3-year-old gelding named Love to Barrett, who was claimed at Gulfstream Park in Florida; and Say Ow. He stated that 10% of Say Ow’s winnings will be donated to the Junior Seau Foundation.
He also owns a yearling named Stunning Drama who is Innocent Man’s full sister, on her way to Rancho Paseana.
"She’s the best yearling I’ve ever had," DeHaven stated.
DeHaven expressed he is looking forward to the Del Mar season and is fascinated with the seaside oval. "There’s no track like it, with the ocean setting and the breeze blowing through there … almost everyone has a different attitude," he stated.
When DeHaven is not spending time with his horses and on the track he spends time working for The Premae Co., purchasing life insurance policies from people seeking liquidity, and packaging and securitizing them in the marketplace. Over the last 6 years, he has been helping the Zion Baptist Church of South Central L.A. He planned a policy so churchgoers could afford to bury their loved ones, helped supply money for scholarships, and aided in the destruction of 4 crack houses.
DeHaven enjoys time with his family in Rancho Santa Fe where he has called home since 1988. His wife, Kim, whom he met in La Jolla and himself have 4 children, Savannah, mentioned above, Chase 15, Kenya 9, and Danni 6.
DeHaven has always loved living in The Ranch and enjoys the idea that it is an "equestrian town."
Since so many of the residents are interested or involved in horses, DeHaven is hoping his "Jockey for a Cause" event is supported locally.
"Permanently disabled jockeys depend on the PDJF for financial assistance," PDJF Executive Director Nancy LaSala stated in a news release. "The PDJF was established to provide long-term assistance to jockeys who have suffered on-track catastrophic injuries. Since its inception in 2006, it has been, and continues to be, challenged to meet its financial goals to meet the day-to-day needs of these men and women. We have great hopes that ‘Jockey for a Cause’ will help provide security for our injured riders, and we are very appreciative to Jeff for his commitment to these athletes."
"The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation helps not only jockeys, but many others in the industry in their time of need," the organization’s executive director, Nancy Kelly, said in a news release. "Trainers, grooms, exercise riders, hot walkers, farm workers and front office personnel turn to us, and we want to be there to help. ‘Jockey for a Cause’ will help us help those valuable members of the industry."
Tickets for the party if purchased in advance will cost $100 or if purchased on the day of the event $200. The tickets can be purchased at www.pdjf.org or www.tjcfoundation.org. All guests that order tickets will meet at Horizon Christian Fellowship located at 6365 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe. Guests will receive a wristband and be transported by bus to the DeHaven residence. Along with this, a car service will be provided for guests that are unable to drive after enjoying a few too many drinks.
DeHaven expressed hope that the fundraiser will become an annual event.
"It’s (horse racing) a very fragmented industry," DeHaven stated, and added that the medication issue is certainly not helping. "The public is being misled to a certain extent. Changes need to take place for the betterment of horses and the industry."
If Rancho Santa Fe sounds like the perfect place for your family to call home and enjoy a ranch with your own horses, contact 888-865-5055 today to speak with a Realtor that can provide you with a tour of all the homes available.