SANTA ANITA JOCKS, HOLY ANGELS CAGERS MEET FEB. 24, 44TH ANNUAL GAME TO BENEFIT YOUTH, DISABLED JOCKEYS

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2011)—The 44th annual Holy Angels/Santa Anita Jockeys Charity Basketball Game will take place Thursday, Feb. 24, at La Salle High School in Pasadena. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

Proceeds will benefit the Holy Angels athletic department and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). Legendary Hall of Fame jockeys Eddie Delahoussaye, Don Pierce, Laffit Pincay Jr., Gary Stevens and Mike Smith will serve as honorary captains and will be on hand to autograph memorabilia from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the La Salle High gymnasium.

“This has been a great event over the years and we always have a lot of fun with it,” said jockey David Flores, who will again serve as game captain for the jockeys. “What’s really exciting about this year is that for the first time, we are going to include the Disabled Jockeys Fund in our fundraising effort. Racing is a very, very dangerous sport and this means a lot to all of us in the racing industry.

“We want to do all that we can to try and help all of these people who have been hurt so badly. Just the fact that we are helping to draw attention to their situation is very important. We hope that everyone coming to the game this year will do what they can to help us help all of these jockeys who will never be able to ride again.”

Holy Angels, located just south of Santa Anita Park, on Huntington Drive, has partnered with Santa Anita on numerous charity events over the years.

“The jockeys and Santa Anita have been a huge support to Holy Angels over the past 50 years,” said Holy Angels Principal, Ted Carroll. “We are excited to be able to include the PDJF in this year’s game, and we are excited to be able to return the favor, finally.”

The PDJF, which was founded in 2006, provides financial assistance to professional jockeys (both Thoroughbred and quarterhorse) who have sustained serious injuries such as paralysis and brain trauma, which often result in permanent disabilities.

“The PDJF is very appreciative of the Santa Anita jockey colony and Holy Angels School for their support of this event, which will help bring awareness and funding for these programs,” said Nancy LaSala, Executive Director of the PDJF.

“Time and again jockeys in the United States have never wavered in their support of the PDJF,” said LaSala. “The participation of the Santa Anita jockey colony is another example of how these athletes, who share in both the excitement and danger of this sport remain committed to their fellow jockeys who are now leading much different lives.”

This year’s Santa Anita jockey squad figures to include: Captain David Flores, Pedro Arambula, Paul Atkinson, Rafael Bejarano, Alex Bisono, Brice Blanc, Antonio Castanon, Victor Espinoza, Martin Garcia, Kerwin John, Edwin Maldonado, Corey Nakatani, Iggy Puglisi, Alonso Quinonez, Joel Rosario, Christian Santiago Reyes, Chantal Sutherland, Mike Smith, Kayla Stra, Joe Talamo, Patrick Valenzuela and perhaps others.

HRTV’s Kurt Hoover will again coach the jockey’s squad and despite having been defeated the past three years, is optimistic this year’s result will be different.

“If we can field a full-squad and pressure Holy Angels from the half court line, I think we’ve got a good shot,” said Hoover. “If we can rotate a steady supply of fresh horses, we can keep it close and I think we’ll have a good shot to win it. We’ve got some really good athletes and even though Holy Angels is quite a bit bigger, we should be able to make up for it with good defense and intensity.”

La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, approximately four miles from Santa Anita. Admission is $5.

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