Two Jockey Suicides Bring Awareness to Mental Health Crisis in Horseracing

Sally Mixon, founder of Abijah’s on the Backside

Ashley Canchari prefers to remember her brother as he lived. One of the most popular jockeys at Canterbury Park, Alex Canchari brimmed with talent and charisma, a Shakopee kid who achieved his dream at his hometown track.

But that wasn’t why Ashley was invited to speak at Saratoga Race Course earlier this month. During a discussion about the mental health concerns faced by jockeys, she told a room full of people how Alex died: by suicide, on a bleak March night, not far from the track where he rode 334 winners.

“I wish every day he would have said something to me,” she said in an interview last week. “But he never showed us he needed help, that he was in a dark place.

“And that’s the thing. In the horse racing industry, these issues have never been discussed. They’ve been swept under the rug.”

More on this tragic story on Mental Health Crisis in Horseracing from Minnesota’s Star Tribune


Abijah’s on the Backside is Changing Lives at This Racetrack

By Katie Ritz

While racing seems to be scrambling for any piece of positive public perception it comes across, Sally Jane Mixon has a vision. She wants to save the lives of people across the country, and she wants to do it by bringing them to the backsides of racetracks to work with retired racehorses.

Mental health is a huge crisis right now everywhere you go,” Mixon said. “The hope is to bring people who maybe have a bad taste in their mouth for racing and they’ll come and work with off-track Thoroughbreds and their lives will be changed–at a racetrack, with horses that have raced.”

This summer, Mixon’s vision came to life with the launch of Abijah’s on the Backside– a therapy and wellness center nestled on a quiet piece of the backside at Canterbury Park. There, a pair of retired racehorses… more from The Thoroughbred Daily News

Support this great organization that utilizes ex-racehorses to help people who are struggling