08/30/2005 12:00AM

River holding benefit for Birzer


River Downs will be the site Sunday of a benefit for jockey Gary Birzer, who is paralyzed from the waist down after injuring his neck and spinal cord in a July 20 spill at Mountaineer Park.

There will be a live auction for a saddle towel from Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo signed by his trainer, John Shirreffs, and jockey, Mike Smith, as well as a halter worn by Storm Cat, the prominent sire.

Items up for bid in a silent auction will include two tickets to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, with hotel accommodations; a day for two at the Belmont Stakes; sets of boots from jockeys Pat Day,

John Velazquez, and Jose Santos; a day at the races for 20 in Thistledown's Magna Suite; and a day at the races at Calder for four, including a named race and trophy presentation.

Birzer, 28, is expected to be present and, weather permitting, be on horseback in the paddock with the assistance of the staff from Winton Woods Riding Center of Cincinnati.

More information is available at 513-354-8243 or johne@riverdowns.com, and donations may be sent to River Downs Public Relations, 6301 Kellogg Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45230.