A fundraiser for Second Stride hosted by Molly Malone’s Irish Pub & Restaurant brought in $15,000 to help retired racehorses. The Kentucky Derby Week event at the pub’s Highlands location drew a crowd that packed the building, and included Derby trainers, owners, and jockeys. It was the largest single fundraiser to date for Second Stride, which was formed in 2005.
Among the attendees was the trainer of Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another, Doug O’Neill, and the horse’s jockey, Mario Gutierrez, and owner, J. Paul Reddam. O’Neill brought halters from I’ll Have Another and champion Lava Man to auction off at the event, which included a live and silent auction. A friend of O’Neill’s, Steve Rothman, graciously served as auctioneer.
Also in attendance was Kentucky Derby trainer Patrick Byrne, who had pledged 10 percent of his runner Take Charge Indy’s winnings to Second Stride, and the horse’s owners, Chuck and Maribeth Sandford.
Churchill Downs racing analyst Jill Byrne helped get the word out about the event, including producing a promotional video, gathered items for donation and assisted in the live auction.
Molly Malone’s, which often raises money to help local nonprofit organizations, wanted to do something to help retired racehorses, and offered to host a fundraiser during Derby Week for Second Stride. Tomas O’Riodan, manager of the pub’s Highlands location, said the pub was a natural fit, as many trainers and owners have celebrated their big wins there, and others in the industry often stop by. He helped gather auction items and organize the event.
“We are so thankful to Tomas and the Molly Malone’s staff for hosting this fundraiser and making it so special,” said Second Stride President Kim Smith. “Tomas worked tirelessly to make this a successful, fun event, and helped us get the word out about the needs and potential of retired thoroughbred racehorses. All the money that was raised will directly benefit those horses, and ensure they have a future after their days on the track are over. It was very moving to see so many people in the racing community, and the public at large, come out to help.”
The list of items donated was “amazing,” Smith said. In addition to I’ll Have Another and Lava Man’s halters, auctioned off were halters and shoes from other famous racehorses such as Kentucky Derby winners Real Quiet and Fusaichi Pegasus, Belmont winners Drosselmeyer and Summer Bird, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Cat Thief.
The lucky bidders for the halters of Lava Man and I’ll Have Another, who won the Derby four days after the event, also were treated to tours of O’Neill’s barn, and the winner of Lava Man’s halter even got to ride the champion horse. Lava Man was a star on the California racing circuit and fan favorite who won seven Grade 1 races and earned more than $5 million on the track. He now has a second career as I’ll Have Another’s race day pony.
Among the other items donated and auctioned off were horse racing artwork and signed photography, sports tickets, boxes for race days at Churchill Downs and Keeneland, luxury suites at sporting events, VIP tours of prestigious Kentucky horse farms and trainers’ stables, items from local distilleries and vouchers for local restaurants.
Churchill Downs made a generous donation of $1,000 for the fundraiser.