Jockey Victor Espinoza netted about $80,000 when his mount American Pharoah swept the Triple Crown of horseracing this year. But Espinoza gave away every penny. He handed his historic winnings, in their entirety, to City of Hope—a charity that operates pediatric cancer-treatment centers in California.
Espinoza has for years donated 10 percent of his income to City of Hope. This dates to a visit he made to the facility with a friend. “We walk in and I can’t stay. I see kids with no hair…I went back out to the car and sat.” Overcome by emotion, Espinoza started sending tithes anonymously.
One of 12 children, Espinoza drove a bus in Mexico City before moving to the United States and becoming a jockey. When he won the first Triple Crown in four decades there was nothing he wanted to do more with the money than donate it. “Sometimes I forget to pay my bills,” he told a reporter, “but I never forget City of Hope."