American Pharoah Jockey Victor Espinoza Says He’s Donating Belmont Winnings to Cancer Charity
Winning the Triple Crown did not make American Pharoah jockey Victor Espinoza a rich man. Jockeys are easily the most underpaid athletes in pro sports today, given the risks they incur and the astronomical wealth of their employers. They typically get about 10% of the purse when they win a race, but in turn have to give 25% of their cut to their agents and another 5% to the valets who handle their gear.
In the case of the 2015 Belmont Stakes, in which American Pharoah won $800K, that works out to about $56,000 for Espinoza…before taxes.
That’s probably a lot more than you make in three weeks, which was the time in between the Preakness and the Belmont. But then again, you’re probably not risking severe spinal injury or death every time you go to work.
Why do I bring all this up? To highlight the amazing generosity of Victor Espinoza. For years he’s been donating money to City of Hope, a California-based cancer research and treatment center. And after he rode American Pharoah to the first Triple Crown in 37 years over the weekend, he made an amazing promise.
“I won the Triple Crown right now,” he said, “but I don’t make any money because I’m donating all the money to the City of Hope.”
The donation has yet to become official, but City of Hope’s website confirms that the Mexican-born jockey has visited the center numerous times over the years. So there’s no reason to doubt he was being sincere.
Hat Tip – [ABC News]