Kentucky Derby jockeys to don Call 811 message

May 6, 2016 -  By
ChurchhillDowns

Photo: joannapoe / photo on flickr

Common Ground Alliance (CGA), in partnership with members Dig Alert of Southern California, Dig Safely New York, Kentucky 811 and USA North 811, will sponsor jockeys Junior Alvarado and Mike Smith at Saturday’s 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

“CGA greatly appreciates the contributions of all four member partners for making the sponsorship of Junior and Mike possible,” said Bob Kipp, CGA president. “The Kentucky Derby is more than a sporting event – it’s a cultural institution. It is an ideal venue for promoting the importance of calling 811 to homeowners and professionals.”

The sponsorship will promote the “Call 811 before you dig” safety message. Anyone who calls 811 a few days before digging is connected to a local one-call notification center that takes the caller’s information and communicates it to local utility companies. Professional utility locating technicians will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint or flags. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.

Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities increases the likelihood of an unintentional damage, which can cause serious injuries, service disruptions and repair costs. An underground utility line is damaged every six minutes nationwide because someone decided to dig without first calling 811, according to CGA data.

The winning jockey has worn the 811 message at five of the last six Triple Crown races, including all three in 2015 for the first Triple Crown win in 37 years. That sponsorship led to record-breaking traffic on Call811.com in 2014, only to be surpassed in 2015, the organization said.

“Given the recent history of ‘Call 811’ at Triple Crown races, I’m looking forward to wearing it,” said Smith. “I’m hoping that in addition to sharing an important message, I also get some luck that helps guide me back to the Winner’s Circle at the Derby.”

 

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