02/24/2011 4:59PM

DeFranco, director of MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, dies

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Tony DeFranco, the executive director of the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund since its establishment in 1987, died on Saturday, Feb. 19, in Woodland Hills, Calif., according to the fund’s vice president, Chris McCarron. DeFranco was 70.

DeFranco was selected as the executive director of the jockey fund by his friend Tim Conway, the actor and comedian, after Conway co-founded the charitable organization with Judith McCarron, Chris McCarron’s wife. The fund distributes payments to riders who are injured, either temporarily or permanently.

“Tony was the guy who fielded all the requests for assistance, and he was also the guy who organized all our fund-raisers,” said Chris McCarron. “He worked closely with thousands of jockeys and racetrack personnel through the years and he will be greatly missed. The sport of racing, and more specifically, jockeys, were much better off because of the work Tony did.”

According to McCarron, DeFranco supervised the distribution of $3 million to more than 2,500 injured riders during his tenure at the fund. Prior to being tabbed to head the fund, DeFranco was an administrator for the Board of Cooperative Education Systems.

DeFranco is survived by his wife, Phyllis a son, Anthony Jr., a daughter, Dana, and two grandchildren.

Correction: A previous version of this article reported an incorrect date of death for Tony DeFranco. He died Feb. 19, not Feb. 18.