A wish came true at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday when Sierra Olson, a 14-year-old girl suffering from Evan’s Syndrome (an autoimmune disease), accompanied veterinarian Dr. Ken Alison on his rounds through the barn of trainer Terry Knight.

    Anna Ortiz of The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation, Robert Rowell and Shari Knight of the Golden State Warriors, Terry Knight, Dr. Alison, and Kristin Finkel of Golden Gate Fields helped organize a morning in which Olson had the opportunity to get up close and personal with her favorite things – horses.

     Olson, who resides in Lafayette, loves horses and horseback riding and aspires to be a veterinarian.  The visit to Golden Gate Fields, which included a tour of the stable area and a visit to the track’s equine hospital, was Part 1 of Olson’s two-part wish.

     Part 2 will take place in Clements, CA, at the Legacy Ranch of Pete and Evelyn Parella on April 3-4.  In addition to hosting Olson for an overnight stay at the ranch, the Parellas are hoping to fulfill Sierra’s dream of witnessing a live equine birth at their state-of-the-art facility.

     Olson, who arrived at Golden Gate Fields in a limousine, shadowed Dr. Alison and even assisted the veterinarian by removing staples (stitches) from a horse’s head.  She also observed a surgery in Golden Gate Fields’ equine hospital and was given a fun homework assignment from trainer Knight – to name one of his young horses.  Knight will submit the name to The Jockey Club for approval.

     “Just being around all the horses,” responded Olson when asked what she liked most about her visit.  And what about removing staples from a horse’s head?  “I thought it was really cool.”  So did Dr. Alison, who said Olson performed the procedure “great, perfect.”
      Olson was accompanied on her trip to Golden Gate Fields by her parents Darci and Dylan, her brother Eli, and her sister Annika.  

      Rowell, team president of the Golden State Warriors and a racehorse owner who employs Knight as his trainer, came up with idea of sending Olson to Golden Gate Fields after meeting her at a holiday party that the Warriors hosted for Make-A-Wish.  Once Rowell learned of Olson’s love of horses and desire to become a veterinarian, he contacted Knight, who contacted Dr. Alison.

     The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.  Founded in 1984, the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation is one of the largest chapters nationwide and has granted more than 5,000 wishes.  While the Foundation follows the policies and guidelines of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, the Greater Bay Area chapter operates as a separate 501(c)3 organization. All funds raised by the Foundation are used to fulfill wishes in the Bay Area.

     People can make donations directly to the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation by calling 415-982-9474 or by sending a check to the foundation at 55 Hawthorne St., Suite 800, San Francisco, CA, 94105.   

     Donations can also be made online at http://www.wish.org/help/donate. To support local wishes, please direct your gift to the Greater Bay Area chapter as the recipient when filling out the online contribution form. 

     Krigger Rides Four Winners

     Jockey Kevin Krigger enjoyed a big Saturday afternoon at Golden Gate Fields, winning with four of his five mounts.

     Krigger won the second race with Secret Jackpot ($6.80), the fourth with Sweetandperfect ($15.80), the fifth with Dream of Daisy ($19.40) and the ninth with Winston Wolf ($7.00).  Krigger's lone loss came aboard 14-to-1 outsider Stefanelli, who finished third in the eighth race.

     Krigger has six mounts on Sunday's nine-race program at Golden Gate Fields.  Post time is 12:45 p.m. and the track is offering $1 general parking, $1 general admission, $1 programs, $1 beers, $1 hot dogs, and $1 sodas.