People who followed Thoroughbred horse racing in New England during the 1980s knew the name Banker’s Jet. The hard-charging dark bay son of Tri Jet won 28 races (including seven stakes) and almost $700,000 in purse money. As is sadly the case with many Thoroughbred geldings, Banker’s Jet was raced far beyond his prime. When age diminished his speed and stamina, Jet changed ownership multiple times and descended
the claiming scale as new trainers tried to squeeze one more winning race out of the gallant competitor.
Finally, in September 1991, the seven-year racing career of Banker’s Jet crashed to an end when the horse broke down while still managing to finish third in a bottom-level race. Six months later, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) rescued a sick and starving Banker’s Jet from a hack stable in upstate New York—where he was found wallowing knee-deep in mud. TRF moved him to its farm on the grounds of the Wallkill Correctional Facility, where inmates care for retired racehorses. Jet was slowly nursed back to the point at which he could be paired with an older mare and turned out to graze.
Through the chance reading of a newspaper headline in 1992, Connecticut businessman Raymond Roy learned about TRF and the saving of Banker’s Jet. Touched by the horse’s story and impressed with the goals of the nonprofit Foundation, Ray joined in the work of TRF and served as volunteer treasurer for 15 years.
When Ray and his wife Diana purchased a farm in 1993, Banker’s Jet and his pasturemate
became the first equine residents. Jet enjoyed 14 years of peaceful retirement with the Roys until his passing in 2007.
After Jet’s death, Ray and Diana decided that the creation of a Banker’s Jet Memorial
Scholarship would be an appropriate way to honor the horse’s life. As the Roys explained,
“We like to think that Banker’s Jet would have approved of the concept of financially assisting with the education of veterinarians to help future generations of horses.”
The Roys chose Penn Vet to administer the scholarship because, a few years earlier, Dr. Jill Beech, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Reproduction at New Bolton Center, had brought their race mare, Gene’s Gray Girl, back to health after a nearly fatal bout with
Recently, during a visit to a large animal hospital in Massachusetts, Ray was introduced to resident veterinarian Dr. Amanda Prisk, V’15. Prisk mentioned that she was a graduate of Penn Vet and had been the recipient of a Banker’s Jet Memorial Scholarship award. According to Ray, “It was a joy to meet an individual who had benefited from Jet’s scholarship!”