Victor Espinoza says that winning the Triple Crown and getting his name in the history books is gift enough, which is why he decided to donate all his winnings from this weekend’s race to charity.
The 43-year-old Mexican jockey – the first Latino to win the Triple Crown – told Fox Business host Stuart Varney on Tuesday that he did not receive a cent from his winnings because he would be donating it to City of Hope, a California-based children’s cancer research center.
“I’ve been doing it for 10 years, donating a percentage to City of Hope. This time I decided to donate all (of it),” Espinoza said. “I look at this way: Last year I didn’t win so I don’t take any money home. So (I thought) if I win, breaking the 37-year (drought), forget the money, I want to make history now. I want to win.”
He said it’s heartbreaking to see young kids fighting cancer every day and he just wants to help them.
“It has to be from my heart. I will donate and do all in my power and help them because it’s really heartbreaking,” Espinoza said. “They are so young… and for me, life is beautiful.”
The 5'1" jockey would have taken home 10 percent of the purse for winning Saturday’s race with American Pharoah.
Espinoza, who has twice before fallen one race shy of riding a horse to the Triple Crown, called American Pharoah the greatest horse he has ever ridden.
“He was amazing. He was ready, and I was ready,” he said, adding that he would not celebrate the win until he cross the finish line. “In the last 20 yards to the wire, I was just, ‘This is it, but I’m not going to celebrate yet because a lot of things could go wrong.'”
“I’ve ridden some amazing horses, and they are all amazing, but American Pharoah is right on top,” Espinoza added.