Hailing from humble beginnings on a dairy farm in Mexico, Victor Espinoza — one of the world's top jockeys — is celebrating his Triple Crown win in the most astounding way. After becoming the first person to win the title since 1978 on Saturday, American Pharoah jockey Victor Espinoza is donating his winnings to a cancer research and treatment center.
Espinoza's Belmont Stakes win marked an accomplishment in the horse racing world that hadn't been seen in 37 years, but his estimated $80,000 earnings will not be spent on himself. After paying his agent and assistant, ABC News reported that Espinoza will be donating his share to City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment center in California.
"I won the Triple Crown right now," the 2014 ESPY Best Jockey recipient said after the Belmont Stakes, "but I don't make any money because I'm donating all the money to the City of Hope."
American Pharoah's trainer, Bob Baffert, and his wife Jill, also reportedly announced a donation of $50,000 each to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund; the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA), a nonprofit charity for retired California racehorses; and Old Friends Farm, a retirement facility for thoroughbred horses.
"I want to share this, I want to make sure that those horses that we really love, we have to take care of them," Baffert told the Courier-Journal after the event. "Win, lose, or draw, I was going to do it."
Espinoza and American Pharoah — with the quirky misspelling of "Pharaoh," a mistake from the horse's birth paperwork filing — won U.S. horse racing's three biggest races on their third try and second year in a row.
Espinoza has donated portions of his earnings to City of Hope in the past and visited patients at its center in Duarte, Calif. He said:
The kids, 6 years old, 10 years old, it's just heartbreaking. They have no idea what they're missing in life. But believe it or not, they're the happiest people. When I went to visit them twice, it was amazing to see them, how happy they were.
Though the organization hasn't yet confirmed Espinoza's most recent donation, it said in a statement to ABC News that the group is "currently celebrating Mr. Espinoza's remarkable achievement and has not yet communicated with him officially about his donation."
[Cover image via Rob Carr/Getty Images Sport]