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August 19, 2006 · By · Share

Over 200 Marines from Camp Pendleton, California experienced a day at the races courtesy the Thoroughbred Thank You Fund and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

The Thoroughbred Thank You Fund was created in the spring of 2005 by West Point Thoroughbreds' President Terry Finley, a 1986 Graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, to honor troops that had served in Iraq.  The initiative garnered the support of the entire thoroughbred community and was able to fund an all expenses paid day for over 200 soldiers from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to the 2005 Kentucky Derby.  The fund was then able to send more troops to the 2005 Breeders' Cup at Belmont.

The latest initiative sent 205 Marines from Camp Pendleton to Del Mar for a "Day at the Races" on August 18, 2006.  Each marine received lunch and a betting voucher for the day.  Announcements were made throughout the day at the racetrack recognizing the Marines, and a presentation was made in the winner's circle.  Participation by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club was instrumental in making this day a possibility.

West Point Thoroughbreds' President Terry Finley said, "We cannot be too appreciative of the sacrifice that these troops give to defend us.  We wanted to do something more to recognize them.  We wanted to do something out west, so we had Jeff Bloom work on something with them."

Jeff Bloom, Executive Vice President of West Coast Operations, said,  "When Terry (Finley) came up with the idea of the "Thank You Fund", the thoroughbred community stepped up in a big way.  The outpouring of support was amazing.  This year, we approached Del Mar, and they could not have been more enthusiastic and accommodating.  With their support, these Marines had a fantastic day.  It was such an honor to walk amongst them.  They were saying how great a day it was, but this really was the least we could do."

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