Banke and her husband, Jess Jackson, are the majority owners of Curlin, who will become the first American Thoroughbred to earn $10 million if he can win the 90th running of the prestigious Grade 1, 1¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup.
“Curlin has had much success in New York both in Saratoga and Belmont so it is fitting that we should make a donation to Anna House on the day he attempts to make history. His success on the track as helped education and children’s charities throughout America,” said Banke, who is also a successful attorney. “Even though Jess is an only child, family has always been a priority in his life. Our children are very important to us, and we are so grateful to have a horse like Curlin that can help make a difference in the lives of children where he races but especially for the backstretch workers in New York.”
Jackson and Banke were impressed by Anna House’s role in the care of backstretch children, and were delighted by the opportunity to help New York, which has loved Curlin since he was beaten a nose by the incomparable filly Rags to Riches in the 2007 Belmont, rebounded to win the 2007 Jockey Club Gold Cup over Lawyer Ron, ran second to classy Red Rocks (IRE) in his only turf try here in the Grade 1 Man O’War back in July and won this year’s Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga to set up Saturday’s date with destiny.
Their donation will go to the Anna House tuition fund.
“It is a weekend for good causes. This weekend, we are hosting our wine auction Sonoma Paradiso, at Stonestreet Estate Winery in Healdsburg, California. It is the third largest wine auction in the nation and it raises charitable funds for children in need primarily in California. So, we are very happy to be in New York with Curlin this weekend and to be able to do something good for New York,” Banke added
• About Anna House. Run under the auspices of the Belmont Child Care Association to provide day care for children of backstretch workers at Belmont Park, Aqueduct Racetrack and Saratoga Race Course, Anna House was the brainchild of several horsemen’s wives back in 1998. The New York Racing Association donated land for the 7,500-sqaure foot facility and Long Island developer Michael Dubb, now a member of NYRA’s board of directors, donated his services. A $1 million donation from owners Eugene and Laura Melynk moved construction forward, and the facility was named Anna House, after the Melynks’daughter. Ground broke in April, 2002 and Anna House opened in January 2003.
• About Jackson Curlin for Kids Fund. Named in honor of 2007 Horse of the Year, Curlin. Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson Wines, and his wife Barbara Banke – owners of Curlin, created it in 2007. The fund’s purpose is to make a difference in the lives of children where Curlin runs or trains by sharing a portion of his earnings with local children's charities. It is held and managed by Lexington-based Blue Grass Community Foundation. For more information on Jackson Curlin for Kids Fund please visit http://www.gocurlin.com.