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FTKFEB Offering Looks to Raise Funds for Parkinson’s Research


Ann Hanley | Photos by Z

By Christie DeBernardis

When Pure Purity (Perfect Soul {Ire}) enters the ring at Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale Tuesday, Feb. 5, Ann Hanley–wife of WinStar General Manager David Hanley–will be seated in the pavilion, crossing her fingers for a good result as the proceeds from Hip 289‘s sale will go directly to Hanley’s Parkinson’s Research Fund. The MSP 6-year-old mare, offered as a broodmare prospect, is a half-sister to MSWs Citius (Old Forester) and Flashy Margarita (Bold n’ Flashy), as well as SW Bourbon Stritta (Old Forester).

“James Keogh came to me at the end of the November sale and said he was anxious to do something for me to help raise money for Parkinson’s research,” Hanley said. “He had this mare and thought this was an ideal way to do it. He hoped that maybe it would ignite interest in other people. James donated this mare to us. I went to see her and he has her looking absolutely fantastic. Alfredo, her groom, has done a great job.”

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 49, Hanley has been working tirelessly over the past few years to raise money for a surgical procedure performed by Dr. Craig Von Horne at the University of Kentucky in which a nerve graft is implanted in the patient’s brain. Hanley, who underwent the procedure herself this summer, also spends endless hours with the other patients and is the first person they see before and after surgery.

“I was able to participate in the research and I had two brain surgeries in August,” said Hanley. “So far it looks really good. I was the 60th patient and we have seen great success. Parkinson’s is a disease with no cure, no effective therapy and no medicine. All you can do is get progressively worse. The results have been spectacular. Some patients have seen up to 40% improvement and that is unheard of.”

She continued, “I work at the hospital, doing research for the last six years with Dr. Van Horne at UK. That is the only place they do this. I have been there from the very beginning. It is so difficult to get funding because we don’t use drugs, so you have no big pharma or drug company involved.”

With all of her friends involved in racing, it was only natural that Hanley started her fundraising efforts by reaching out to the Thoroughbred community and they responded with gusto. The team at Goffs, headed by Hanley’s lifelong friend Eimear Mulhern, raised €150,000 within 10 days of her phone call. Fasig-Tipton, Coolmore and WinStar also teamed up to host “A Night for a Cure,” which raised $300,000 during the 2016 Fasig-Tipton July Sale.

“We saw results in the first group of patients and then we had to stop because of funding,” Hanley said. “To me, it was ridiculous. I had never raised a penny in my life and I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but if you have something that changes people’s lives, you have to find a way to do something. All my friends are horse people in the industry. They all rallied around this cause and because of that I have been able to raise over $1.1 million, which is amazing, in just a couple of years.”

Many members of the Thoroughbred community have stepped up to support Hanley through creative fundraising efforts. Olive and Brendan Gallagher of Frankfort Park Stud syndicated a mare named Lady Hester (Bernardini) under the condition that 50% of her earnings go directly to Hanley’s foundation, an effort which has not only raised money, but created new racing fans.

Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and his wife Jill, who met Hanley during Justify (Scat Daddy)’s historic campaign, donated two very popular shadow boxes. One housed Justify’s halter and the other contained a shoe from Justify, a shoe from American Pharoah and copies of the front pages of the Sports Illustrated editions each Triple Crown winner appeared on signed by both Baffert and their respective jockeys. The items were auctioned off during Keeneland’s annual art auction during their November sale and resulted in a check for $72,000.

“There is no doubt in the world that we could not have gotten this done if the Thoroughbred community had not stepped up,” Hanley said. “When you consider, in the big picture, what we are able to do, probably changing the face of this disease and certainly changing the progression of this disease. We want to make it available to everybody. That is why the funding is so necessary.”


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