American Pharoah has no idea that he made history, earned a lot of people a heck of a lot of cash, and has raised money for charity. The jockey that rode him to a Triple Crown victory on Sunday, Victor Espinoza, had donated all of his winnings to a cancer center.
Espinoza, who many have pointed out had “humble beginnings” in Mexico, lives in Duarte, California, near the City of Hope’s network of treatment centers, the Washington Post reported. The jockey won $80,000 at the race on Sunday, and after paying his agent and assistants, the rest will go to the charity.
Victor has donated 10 percent of his earnings to cancer treatment and research throughout his jockey career, which has also been peppered with many attempts to win the Triple Crown. According to ABC News, he tried in 2002 with War Emblem and again last year on California Chrome. Both times, the Belmont Stakes robbed the jockey and his horse of a historic win.
Over the years, Espinoza has made donation a habit of his career. City of Hope focuses on pediatric cancer, as well as diabetes and HIV/AIDs. The hospital stated officially that it’s celebrating Victor’s win and hasn’t yet confirmed the contribution.
He visits the hospital often to share “smiles, gifts, and stories,” and has many friends among those dedicated to pediatric care in California. For Victor, donating his winning purse was a no-brainer.
“I just saw one kid with that disease and that’s how I changed my life. I changed the way I think. Pretty much I changed everything. For me, health is No. 1. The kids 6 years old, 10 years old, it’s just heartbreaking. They have no idea what they’re missing in life. But believe it or not, they’re the happiest people. When I went to visit them twice, it was amazing to see them, how happy they were.”
Immediately after winning, he said that all $80,00 would go to the centers and he wouldn’t keep any for himself.
Espinoza isn’t the only one who felt charitable after American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown victory. His trainers, Bob and Jill Baffert, also donated lots of cash to a handful of charities, the Courier Journal added. This includes $50,000 to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, $50,000 to the California Retirement Management Account (which is for retired racehorses), and $50,000 to the Old Friends Farm.
American Pharoah’s winning team says the attention they’ve earned from the win is reward enough.
[Photos Courtesy Rob Carr and Scott Halleran/Getty Images]