Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Racing Celebrating the Sport of Kings...in Queens

Community Board #10 Chair Betty Braton, State Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, and State Senator Serphin Maltese assembled in the Aqueduct Racetrack winner's circle on Saturday to present the trophy for the 103rd running of the Queens County Handicap to Mike Luzzi and Jeff Runco, jockey and trainer of winning horse Researcher, while friends and family look on.

The jockey attributed the win to the "perfect trip" Researcher had around the Aqueduct oval, but the trainer's trip was anything but perfect trip. “This is my first graded stakes win and it means even more getting it in New York. But I almost didn’t get to New York. My flight got delayed into JFK and I only got here a half hour before the race,” Runco said.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Racing to Support Jamaica Hospital

After Saturday’s second race at Aqueduct, New York Racing Association officials presented a $4,000 check to representatives of Jamaica Hospital, the community beneficiary of the proceeds of last weekend’s “Stocking Stuffer” promotion. “We are pleased to help support such a fine community asset and all the good work it does,” said NYRA Community Relations Manager Joanne Adams.
From left to right:
Roberta Goro, the hospital’s Director of Development; Dr. Antonietta Morisco of the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Board of Trustees; NYRA Community Relations Manager Joanne Adams; jockey Sebastian Morales, winner of the second race; and NYRA President & CEO Charles Hayward.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Manhassat Food Drive and Holiday Show

NYRA was pleased to donate its promotional giveaway items to the Annual Manhasset Food Drive and Holiday Show. NYRA joined the Mets, Yankees, NBA, WNBA, Giants, Islanders, Jets, Rangers, and the Knicks in providing sports items for this event.

Joanne Adams, NYRA’s Community Relations Manager, is presenting one of numerous giveaway items to John Minogue, an organizer and founder of the Annual Holiday Show. The Bayview Civic Association organized the first show in 1995 for all of the children in Manhasset. Food donations benefit Island Harvest.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Toys for Tots

The United States Marine Corps’s annual “Toys for Tots” program was a big winner at Aqueduct Racetrack over the weekend.

Trainer Gary Contessa pledged 10 percent of his earnings on Saturday to the cause, and that total was matched by the New York Racing Association. The minimum to Toys for Tots was $2,000.
Meanwhile, Big A fans and employees contributed four giant boxes of new toys. Cash contributions were still being calculated on Sunday.

USMC Major Chuck Kilbride and Gunnery Sergeant Alexander Mesa represented The Marines, and NYRA President and Chief Executive Officer Charles E. Hayward made the presentation of the donations.

The weekend also helped Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, as fans donated $1 to the center and received a NYRA free giveaway item.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

NYRA Honors Great Horse and Great Cause

New York Racing Association COO Hal Handel (right) presents NYRA’s check for $5,000 to Exceller Fund board members photographer Barbara Livingston and writer Steve Haskin while Exceller Fund founding member Joel Einhorn and his wife Jeannie look on, before the running of yesterday’s fourth race, named for Exceller, a horse best known for his victory over two Triple Crown winners, Seattle Slew and Affirmed, in the 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup. Nineteen years after than landmark victory Exceller died tragically in an overseas slaughterhouse. In his memory, the Exceller Fund was created to “provide a future beyond the finishline” for thoroughbred racehorses. For more information on the Exceller Fund, log-on to excellerfund.org

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Elmont Clean Up Day

The Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development, the Elmont Community Coalition, the Chamber of Commerce, the New York Racing Association, Gateway Youth Outreach and Legislator John Ciotti all coordinated the event, which was supported by a grant from the State Bank of Long Island.

Volunteers included local lawmakers, NYRA employees, high school students, civic association members, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and people from the community.

“I’m excited to see the little guys,” said Kate Murray, Town of Hempstead supervisor, referring to the children who took part. “It’s important to instill a sense of pride [in them]. Elmont is such a fabulous community. I like the idea of Elmont rising to greater heights.”

The group gathered at the Marquee Tent near Gate 5 at Belmont Park. “We want to make a statement to the community at large, to the businesses and Nassau County that Elmont is a great place to be,” said Lyle Sclair, program coordinator for Sustainable Long Island.

The town, the county, the State Bank of Long Island and Home Depot supplied the trash bags, shovels, gloves and other supplies to clean up the highway. NYRA hosted breakfast at the Marquee Tent, where volunteers received complimentary T-shirts.

The participants were divided into teams and bused to six locations along Hempstead Turnpike.

“It’s about the community, people coming together to do the right thing,” Ciotti said.

“In addition to cleaning,” said Lorraine Ferrigno, vice president of the Elmont Board of Education, “we have a sense of camaraderie and pride in our town and each other.”

Pat Nicolosi, president of the Elmont East End Civic Association, said the event was a good kickoff for economic development in Elmont. “I’m ecstatic that we’re doing this,” Nicolosi said. “[It’s great to see] Elmont, Belmont and NYRA becoming neighbors. We want NYRA to succeed economically to create jobs.”

Gov. David Paterson has recently put out a call for proposals for the redevelopment of the Belmont Park neighborhood. “This is a new day dawning for Elmont, and it’s long overdue,” Nicolosi said.
“I think it’s terrific,” said Hempstead Town Councilman Edward Ambrosino. “It shows the people of Elmont that NYRA and Elmont are a team.”

Chamber of Commerce leaders also participated in the cleanup. “What’s going on today is a central component of what the Chamber of Commerce is all about,” said its president, Chris Rosado.
“We try to keep the town clean,” said Paul Sapienza, a former chamber president. “We work with Gateway Youth Outreach and hire high school students to clean up during the summer. This is a great program. There has been a lot of attention drawn to Belmont, with Sen. Dean Skelos and Assemblyman Tom Alfano bringing in money for redevelopment.”

Angie DiMarco said she volunteered simply because she lives in Elmont. “Hopefully businesses will catch on and keep it up,” DiMarco said. “I love living here. It’s a nice, diversified town. I just want to keep it a little cleaner.”
For the kids, the purpose was simple. “I’m cleaning up to make the town look nice,” said 8-year-Anthony Maffea, a third-grader at Covert Avenue School.

“The town needs to be better and cleaner and look presentable for all the people that come to visit,” said Shaniece Walker, 15, a 10th-grader at New Hyde Park Memorial High School.

“One day the Earth will get very dirty,” said Nicholas Khan, 9, a fourth-grader at Gotham Avenue School. “I don’t want that to happen, so I’m cleaning up.

Senior citizens were also part of the team. “I’m a part of Elmont and we need a change,” said resident Clement Byfield, 82. “I’m a part of the change.”

Many of the organizers and participants said they hope the cleanup will become an annual event.