On Saturday April 20, 2019 an innovative partnership between DerbyWars online contests and the In the Money Players’ (ITM) Podcast resulted in an extraordinary celebration of the horses at the heart of the Thoroughbred racing industry. 

A total of 118 individuals participated in the first edition of the DerbyWars Charity Tournament to benefit the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF), which was broadcast live on the DerbyWars website with special guests and live coverage of the tournament and leaderboard. The lively telethon-esque coverage was enhanced with the DerbyWars chat feature, the video participation of featured guests, and ongoing Twitter conversation among players to bring a truly interactive live-sports feel to a tournament based on 8 races.

The brainchild of Peter Thomas Fornatale, founder and host of the In the Money Players’ Podcast in collaboration with Mark Midland, Founder & CEO of DerbyWars, the Saturday afternoon charity game far exceeded its founders’ expectations.

“We anticipated a field of 50 players and were simply blown away when we found ourselves oversubscribed with 118,” said Midland.  “The response to the charity angle was fantastic and I credit Pete and JK (Jonathan Kinchen, co-host of the In the Money Players’ Podcast) for their amazing outreach and promotion.”

The tournament delivered an extraordinary measure of appreciation for the importance of Thoroughbred aftercare from across a nationwide horse racing handicapping audience and a generous measure of financial support for the 650 retired racehorses who live out their days in the sanctuary of the TRF herd.  In addition to the direct donation from DerbyWars to the TRF, the organization has received numerous direct donations through the special ITM Players Podcast page on the TRF website throughout the live broadcast and have subsequently received donations from more than half of the tournament winners who chose to share their cash prizes with the horses of the TRF.

“It has been an amazing week for all of us at the TRF. We are gratified to hear so much passion for our horses and our programs from so many new friends from the handicapping community thanks to DerbyWars and the In the Money Players’ Podcast team” said Kim Weir, National Spokeswoman and Major Gifts Fundraiser for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF).  “On behalf of the valiant herd of equine athletes in our herd, we offer our heartfelt thanks to Mark, Pete, JK, and all of the players and fans who participated in the DerbyWars Charity Tournament on Saturday.  The money raised will directly and immediately support our care for the horses to whom we offer a lifelong promise of sanctuary, and the expanded awareness will meaningfully impact on our ability to expand the reach of our work – saving horses and saving lives.”

As of this release, Ms. Weir reported that donations in excess of $3,800 had been received as a result of this inaugural contest. Mr. Midland and Mr. Fornatale shared that plans are underway to build upon this successful experiment to host future charity contests on the DerbyWars platform. The live broadcast was recorded and is available on the DerbyWars website and on the TRF website (www.trfinc.org/players).