09/21/2004 12:00AM

Cup riders to aid stricken jockey


A group of jockeys including Jerry Bailey and John Velazquez have pledged to donate a portion of their earnings from the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup card to a fund for a paralyzed jockey's medical bills, according to Kelly Wietsma, the president of Equisponse, a marketing firm that represents jockeys.

Bailey, Velazquez, Mike Smith, Gary Stevens, and Jose Santos have committed to help Gary Birzer, a 28-year-old jockey who was paralyzed in a July 20 accident at Mountaineer Park. The medical bills for Birzer, who has a wife and a 2-year-old daughter, have exceeded $600,000 since the accident, Wietsma said.

"Our hope is that a lot of owners and trainers will help out as well," Wietsma said.