DEL MAR — Fans of race horses, baseball or both gathered June 20 at En Fuego Cantina & Grill to help raise money for After the Finish Line, a nonprofit organization that provides funding assistance to rescue organizations that help thoroughbreds transition into second careers once they can no longer race or breed.
Making a guest appearance at Fiesta for the Horses was Randy Jones, who won the 1976 Cy Young Award as a pitcher for the San Diego Padres.
Jones, a racehorse owner and restaurateur, was scheduled to work as a guest bartender, but instead spent the evening signing autographs and chatting with attendees.
En Fuego regularly hosts fundraisers, donating a percentage of sales to a different charity each month. After the Finish Line received $1 for every Finish Line margarita sold in June and 10 percent of all restaurant sales the night of the event.
After the Finish Line supports rescue organizations throughout the United States, but money raised during the En Fuego event will go to those in California.
“We are raising the money locally, so we’re going to keep it local,” said After the Finish Line Founder Dawn Mellen.
Without the financial assistance of After the Finish Line, many former racehorses might be sent to slaughter because they are injured, too slow to win or not producing quality foals, she said.
“The greatest victory for a thoroughbred is not winning a race, but winning the race to live long past their days on the racetrack,” Mellen said. “These talented horses deserve the opportunity to transition and excel in second careers such as hunter or jumpers, dressage, trail, therapy and companion horses.”
After the Finish Line has 13 fundraisers scheduled in 2011. For information on the fundraisers and the organization, visit afterthefinishline.org.