06/05/2008 11:00PM

Belmont charity deal set


NetJets Inc., the private aviation company, and the jockeys riding in the Belmont Stakes will donate a combined $75,000 to be split between two charities based at Belmont Park

As was the case for the Preakness, NetJets gave the jockeys $10,000 each to wear the company's logo on their riding pants. The jockeys agreed to donate $7,500 of that money to charity. At the Preakness, when 11 of the 12 riders wore the logo, the beneficiaries were the Jockey Club Foundation and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. Jockeys John Velazquez and Edgar Prado made a presentation to those charities during a Friday morning press conference at Belmont.

The money NetJets and the jockeys are donating from the Belmont will be split between the Belmont Child Care Association and the Backstretch Employee Service Team. The child care association maintains Anna House, a daycare facility on the Belmont Park grounds for the children of backstretch workers. The employee service group provides health and human services to support backstretch workers.

It appears as though all 10 of the jockeys participating in Saturday's Belmont Stakes will wear the NetJets logo. Kent Desormeaux, the rider of favorite Big Brown, was not going to wear the logo because he had sponsorship commitments with UPS and Hooters. But on Friday the New York Racing Association denied Desormeaux the ability to wear the Hooters logo, citing a conflict with another sponsor, according to Kelly Weitsma, Desormeaux's business agent. NYRA would not name that other sponsor.

At the Kentucky Derby, NetJets, its chairman, Richard Santulli, the jockeys, and Bill Casner, owner of WinStar farm and chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, combined to raise $500,000 to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

It was also announced Friday that NetJets has entered into a sponsorship agreement with NYRA for the 2008 Saratoga season. In addition to prominent signage at the track, NetJets will sponsor the King's Bishop, a Grade 1 race for 3-year-olds on Aug. 23. The owner of the winning horse in the King's Bishop will receive $50,000 of flight time from NetJets.