Volunteers make a splash to aid disabled jockeys – New York News

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> Former New York Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca made a living at throwing out would-be base stealers.

On Saturday, the four-time All-Star was a big hit at Saratoga Race Course by splashing fellow racing analyst Andy Serling into a dunking booth to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

PHOTOS: Benefit for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund

It wasn’t great swimming weather, with temperatures in the 70s, but one person after another — including jockeys Jose Ortiz and Johnny Velazquez — lined up to give Serling and other volunteers a dousing.


“It felt good,” Lo Duca said, smiling. “This is a cool thing. It’s the kind of stuff Saratoga creates.”

Ortiz, from Puerto Rico, grew up playing baseball with a strong shortstop’s arm, so he had no trouble hitting the target.

Greg Wolf, Serling’s Saratoga Live broadcast partner, needed three shots, but loved every second of the fun, charitable activity.

“That was awesome,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to do that to Andy forever.”

Serling, a good sport, encouraged onlookers to sign up and take three shots for $10.

“If Wolf can do it, anybody can,” he said.

The Fund distributes nearly $1 million to 59 former jockeys annually, Executive Director Nancy LaSala said. The group’s work is especially important now with so much uncertainty surrounding healthcare. Even older former jockeys, on Medicare, benefit because money from the Fund gives them more comprehensive care than they’d receive otherwise, she said.

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