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Charity event raises $70,000 for retired thoroughbreds

COAST CITIES — California Retirement Management Account, a charitable 501(c)(3) organization assisting thoroughbred rehabilitation and retirement organizations that care for retired racehorses in California, recently held its third annual charity Texas Hold ‘Em “Poker in Paradise” event. One night a year, industry insiders, jockeys, trainers and racing enthusiasts gather to play poker and raise funds to ensure retired racehorses get the proper long-term care they require.
With 234 poker players in attendance, CARMA raised more than $70,000 to benefit local organizations dedicated to the maintenance and care of horses whose racing careers have ended. An additional 115 people attended the event in a show of support, but did not participate in the poker tournament.
“We are thrilled with the success of our Poker in Paradise event,” said CARMA’s chair of the board Madeline Auerbach. “The work that CARMA does in the horse racing community in California is so important and deserves the attention it received at this fundraiser. I am eternally grateful to all the attendees, especially those who participated in the poker tournament, for their support and dedication to CARMA.”
Sports radio host Jim Rome was among the attendees, along with his wife Janet, who was a crucial member of the event planning committee. Mark Loretta, former second baseman for the Padres, Hall of Famer jockey Mike Smith, well known for his successful track record riding famed racehorse Zenyatta, and Zenyatta trainer John Shirreffs were in attendance as well. Billy Koch of Little Red Feather Racing and former MLB pitcher, served as the MC for the evening.
Guests were treated to a tropical-themed atmosphere, complete with leis and Margaritas. The “CARMArita,” a special drink named for the event, was a popular option among the guests. Perhaps because each drink purchase included entrance in to a special opportunity drawing to win a 1.13-carat cognac diamond from Prince Jewelers of Arcadia. At the end of the night, Colleen Hartford was the lucky winner of the diamond.
CARMA is funded by individual donations and by their work with the California Horse Racing Board to adopt a rule allowing for a .3 percent deduction from purses to help fund equine retirement.