The Thoroughbred Idea Foundation will launch next week its third annual BetMakers Summer Prop Contest to benefit racing charities. At least $25,000 will be distributed overall across three, 501 (c)(3) charities – the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

Free for all to enter, the 2021 edition of the contest is sponsored by BetMakers Technology Group, the Australian-based wagering solutions provider best known in America as the contracted facilitator of fixed odds betting for New Jersey customers. BetMakers signed a 10-year deal with the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Monmouth Park operator Darby Development to manage and distribute fixed odds.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is expected to sign the legislation permitting fixed odds betting on racing shortly. Fixed odds betting will be available on select American and international races.

The contest will begin with props fashioned around next week’s Haskell card and the big races opening weekend at Saratoga.

Each week of the eight-week contest, participants face 12 questions and a tiebreaker which are presented in the form of prop-style bets. A participant’s best four scores over the course of the contest will accumulate towards the overall standings. The top three finishers in each week of the contest will direct $2,000 across the three charities ($1,000 – first, $600 – second, $400 – third) while the contestants with the top three highest accumulated scores at the end of the contest will direct an additional $9,000 ($5,000 – first, $3,000 – second, $1,000 – third).

Last year, Matt Miller of Northbrook, Illinois won the 2nd Summer Prop Contest on a tiebreaker after a weeks-long battle with Doug Slayton. In 2019, long-time racing official and horseplayer Rick Hammerle won the inaugural contest.

TIF believes that wagering on American racing must evolve to include fixed odds wagers, presenting customers with modern wagering options to complement pari-mutuel betting.

“The recent legalization of fixed odds betting for New Jersey customers is a great first step to help present existing customers with more options and to reach new customers to racing through New Jersey’s popular sports betting platforms,” said TIF Executive Director Patrick Cummings.

“The BetMakers Summer Prop Contest seeks to introduce existing racing fans to the potential of a future with more wagering options while raising awareness to incredibly important industry charities. American racing’s obligations are greater than ever while the sport’s business has waned. We must seek every possible measure to grow racing’s proverbial pie and meet these obligations.”

Contest players can enter each week at or through links posted by TIF’s Twitter account @RacingIdeas.

Contest Dates (Key Races)

Week 1 – July 17 (Haskell – Monmouth Park, Diana – Saratoga)

Week 2 – July 24 (Coaching Club American Oaks – Saratoga)

Week 3 – July 31 (Vanderbilt / Jim Dandy – Saratoga, Bing Crosby – Del Mar)

Week 4 – August 7 (Whitney – Saratoga)

Week 5 – August 14 (Mister D – Arlington, Fourstardave – Saratoga)

Week 6 – August 21 (Pacific Classic – Del Mar, Alabama – Saratoga)

Week 7 – August 28 (Travers – Saratoga)

Week 8 – September 4 (Jockey Club Gold Cup / Flower Bowl – Saratoga)

About the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs

"The Backside Learning Center is an independent, non-profit organization building community and enriching the lives of equine workers and their families at Churchill Downs racetrack. The learning center strives to be the model organization, empowering equine workers and their families to thrive. It provides the educational opportunities and resources they need to empower themselves and their children. Programs include adult education such as English language classes, conversation partners, individual tutoring, art and music, bike workshops, as well as after-school and summer youth programs."

About New Vocations

“New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program was founded in 1992 to offer retiring racehorses a safe haven, rehabilitation and continued education through placement in experienced, caring homes.

“Some of the horses we serve are sound and healthy but simply too slow to be competitive on the track. Many have sustained injuries that need time to heal, while others need some R&R from the occupational hazards that come with being a racehorse and to get reacquainted with just being a horse again. But they all share a common plight: Without training beyond what they’ve learned for racing, a good future isn’t guaranteed.

“New Vocations provides a safety net for these horses by matching them with qualified individuals and following up on their rehabilitation and vocational training to ensure a successful transition. Our focus is on adoption versus retirement, and we believe each horse deserves to have an individual home and purpose.”

About the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF)

“The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) is an independent charitable organization that provides financial assistance to jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. The PDJF was created in 2006 as a collaborative effort of leaders representing race tracks, jockeys, horsemen’s groups, and others within the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse industries. In 2009, the PDJF became a freestanding 501(c)(3) public charity governed by a board of directors comprised of stakeholders from a broad cross-section of the horse racing industry.

“The PDJF provides much-needed financial support to permanently disabled jockeys who have given so much to the sport of horse racing. Currently the PDJF supports 60 former riders who have suffered paralysis, brain injuries, or both. Since its founding in 2006 we have disbursed nearly $9 million dollars in aid. Many of the jockeys we serve were injured while in their 20s and 30s and face decades of living with a disability. They have lost their income and the opportunity to build a financial cushion sufficient to support themselves and their families.”


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