Last month, on June 6, a jockey named Victor Espinoza came tearing up the final stretch of the Belmont Stakes, atop a champion racehorse named American Pharoah. As the crowd roared, the horse raced ahead of its competitors, lengthening its lead before it swept across the finish line. Victor Espinoza stood up in the saddle and thrust his arm in the air, celebrating his victory - a Triple Crown!
Every year, the best racehorses in the United States compete in three main races - the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. If the same horse wins all three races, the victory is called a Triple Crown. No horse had won the Triple Crown since 1978. That was 37 years ago! But now American Pharoah had claimed the Crown, becoming only the 12th horse in history to do so!
Famous races such as the Kentucky Derby have large cash prizes, and horses can win millions of dollars in prize money. American Pharoah’s winnings amounted to $2.4 million after winning the Triple Crown. The prize money is divided between the horse's owner, the trainer, the jockey, and several others. The jockey often gets 10% of the winnings. But Espinoza didn’t get any money from this race. Why not?
Many years ago, Espinoza visited a cancer hospital called City of Hope. There he saw children suffering from cancer. Ever since then, he has donated 10% of his earnings to City of Hope. But in the greatest victory of his career, Espinoza wanted to give more than 10 percent of the money - in fact, he wanted to give it all. So Espinoza donated his entire earnings - an estimated $54,000 - to City of Hope. When asked why he did it, Espinoza replied, ”Nobody tells me to give the money. I do it for my heart.”