BY JIM WELLS
Anne Von Rosen was on the phone from Fulda, Germany, north of Frankfort, where she was visiting for her mother’s birthday. Earlier in the day she had gone for an hour-long horseback ride.
“I rode without holding on today,” she said.
Without holding on.
Von Rosen was paralyzed in an accident as a race ended at Turf Paradise in Phoenix during March, 2014 and underwent successive surgeries, the first immediately following the incident and another lasting seven hours later in the week. Her prognosis was grim after she was diagnosed with a severed spinal cord, yet she already has progressed further than doctors predicted for her at the time and even walks with the assistance of leg braces and a walker.
A few months ago, Von Rosen, impatient and displeased with the treatment she had gotten during rehabilitation in Colorado, sought out other options, at home in Germany and in other parts of the globe. “They were merely preparing me to sit in a wheelchair,” she said at the time.
Von Rosen rode for more than a decade at Canterbury Park and will make her first visit to the Shakopee track since the accident on June 28 in conjunction with the second Leg Up Fund celebration that benefits injured jockeys. A number of events are planned to help raise money for the Fund, which operates under the the HBPA 501 (c) 3 as a public charity.
“We aren’t like basketball or football players,” Von Rosen said. “They don’t have to worry when they are hurt. We have numerous concerns. We do have on-track insurance but that doesn’t cover much,” she added. “The costs of many injuries are enormous in America as we all know, which is ridiculous. This fund will offer peace of mind to an injured jockey so he or she doesn’t have to worry about a car payment, a mortgage or the rent while recovering from an injury.”
The Leg Up Fund serves an ulterior purpose as well. “Sometimes injuries take so much longer to heal,” Von Rosen added. “It’s important that people know how dangerous our sport really is. Many of them think we simply go around in a circle on horseback, something like a trail ride.”
Von Rosen now lives in Phoenix and plans to return there following her visit to Shakopee, not overly eager to experience a summer in the Valley of the Sun but grateful nonetheless for her ongoing rehabilitation.
Her presence on Leg Up Day will serve multiple purposes in addition to promotion of the fund established in Shakopee to replace the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund which was disbanded several years ago.
One of the most significant ways to participate is by sponsoring a jockey with one of the donation applications available at the track. A number of pictures and other racing paraphernalia from the estate of late Hall of Fame breeder Cam Casby will be up for bid as part of a silent auction. Chances for dinner with local jockeys will also be sold. In addition, members of the Intercontinental Wrestling Association, including The Brauler, have volunteered time in the dunk tank. Events for children are also planned.
“We planned it out this way (to be at Canterbury on June 28),” Von Rosen said. “Hopefully I can walk around a little bit while I’m there.”
Von Rosen began riding in South Dakota for the barn of trainer Vic Hanson, a regular in Shakopee for years. Her visit will present her with a chance to see him in addition to numerous other friends and acquaintances. “Oh, yes, he knows I’m coming,” Von Rosen added.
As does the entire racetrack community in Shakopee.