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This article was published 24/7/2015 (1549 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The response was swift, powerful and wide-ranging, with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah leading the charge to help injured local jockey Alyssa Selman.
Four-time Assiniboia Downs leading rider Tim Gardiner sent Baffert a text message July 4 at 11:52 a.m. hoping he would remember Gardiner was one of the key players in getting Baffert his first Kentucky Derby winner, Silver Charm, in 1997.
Gardiner picked out Silver Charm as a two-year-old for Manitobans Cam Ziprick, C. J. "Shorty" and Dr. Lee, while working for McKathan Brothers in Florida, and when he didn't reach his reserve bid in the two-year-olds in training sale he was sold to Baffert and his owners.
"This is my one and only Silver Charm favour I'm calling in," said Gardiner in the text message asking Baffert if he could provide a halter from the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, American Pharoah, who is conditioned by Baffert for Ahmed Zayat.
Baffert responded at 11:53 a.m. "Where do you want me to send it."
And the fundraising drive was on.
Horse racing people can bicker and fight as if they're at a dysfunctional family reunion on the best of days, but they came together like iron filings to a magnet to support Alyssa Selman once the news started to spread about her June 27 spill and subsequent paralysis.
Not only did Baffert send a halter from American Pharoah, he also recorded a video of himself with American Pharoah on his iPhone, wishing Selman the best for a speedy recovery, and sending it to Gardiner.
The prized American Pharoah halter could bring as much as $10,000 for Selman when it goes up for auction next week on eBay along with numerous other items including a halter from super-horse Zenyatta organized by local trainer Jared Brown through his connections Bob Hutton and David Ingordo.
"Mrs. Moss (owner of Zenyatta with her husband, Jerry) was happy to donate a Zenyatta halter towards the fundraiser for Alyssa," says the letter from Lane's End Farm executive assistant Louise Hatfield.
Brown also donated a Silver Charm print he earlier bought at a fundraiser for paralyzed jockey Anne Von Rosen, who sustained similar injuries to Selman in a spill at Turf Paradise on March 11, 2014. In addition, Brown called his friend, jockey Scott Stevens, at home in Arizona and received more memorabilia including signed jockey boots from Scott and autographed prints from Scott's brother, Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, including filly Winning Colors taking the 1988 Kentucky Derby and more.
Stronach Stables and trainer Bryan Lynch led the Canadian contingent with the donation of a halter from recent Queen's Plate winner Shaman Ghost, which arrived in Winnipeg via Robbie King, executive director of the Jockeys Benefit Association of Canada, along with a cheque for $8,000 gathered from jockeys across Canada.
Mike Steindler, director of player services at Sam Houston Race Park in Texas not only donated a 1973 Secretariat Kentucky Derby winning photo display signed by jockey Ron Turcotte and owner Penny Chenery, along with numerous other items, he also got the dollars rolling in to Selman's GoFundMe campaign (now at over $13,000) through his Twitter account and matching donations from Quigleys Corner at Del Mar in California and the Horse Racing Nation Community.
Former Blood Horse chief writer Steve Haskin and Ray Paulick of the Paulick Report were also involved early in the process of spreading the word online about Selman, and two posts to the Assiniboia Downs Facebook pages received over 400 shares and reached 40,000 people in just a few days.
That really helped the Alyssa Selman Benefit Social on July 19, which was spearheaded by Lori Mann and attended by over 750 generous Winnipeggers and Manitobans with big hearts, raising over $30,000 for Selman.
"On a daily basis we were shocked by what was coming into the office," said Assinboia Downs CEO Darren Dunn. "The support of the horse racing community and Winnipeg itself was nothing short of overwhelming."
"Alyssa, here is American Pharoah, and I'm sending you his halter..." began Baffert.