‘Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house,
Only one creature was squeaking,
And it wasn’t a mouse.
New grand-baby Vivian tells all that can hear,
That she is this holiday’s present,
Not the wealth amidst us.

(Saratoga Springs, NY - December 24, 2010) If you’re healthy and working and able to care for those around you, give thanks to Santa. And while you are at it, remember to help those not so fortunate – the gift of giving is not a cliché. Horse racing has many charities to which you can donate. This last Christmas wish, the twelfth of 12 Days of Christmas wishes, is that you remember the wishes of others. Please select one of these charities devoted to the human race – it is people who care for the animals you love, after all.

A good place to start would be the Belmont Child Care Association, a not-for-profit organization committed to providing early education and care to children of backstretch workers at the New York Racing Association’s racetracks. The BCCA’s Anna House opens its doors from hours before dawn until noon to children ages six weeks to six years while their parents are caring for horses. For a donation of $100, you could buy a warm breakfast, snacks and a lunch for all 52 of the BCCA’s pre-schoolers. For a $1000 gift, you could provide a computer system and software for the organization’s new after-school program. (http://www.belmontchildcare.org/)

Your donation of $100 to Race for Education would provide a student of parents who work on the backside with access to a safe after-school facility for a month. For $800, you could buy all the textbooks that a college student would need for a year. Race for Education enables young people of horse industry parents with significant financial limitations and those interested in pursuing an equine-related or agricultural career to pursue their education via scholarships and mentoring. (http://www.racingscholarships.com/)

A third charity worth supporting is the Permanently Disabled Jockey’s Fund. This industry-wide charity provides monthly financial assistance to more than 60 professional jockeys that have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. If you give $5, $50 or $500 to the Fund, you can be certain there’s someone to benefit personally. All donations go a long way toward improving the life of person who’s given it his or her all for your enjoyment. But beyond that your gift let's them know that they’ve not been forgotten. (http://www.pdjf.org/)

And so the 12 Days of Christmas ends, may your holiday be jolly. Horse racing is a troubled business but is not without hope. There are good people at work trying to remedy its ills and to create a brighter future. If we don’t wish them well in the season of glad tidings, we’d only be letting ourselves down.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”