Saturday, October 31, 2009

Second Annual Elmont Clean-Up Day

NYRA played a vital role in the second annual Elmont Clean-Up day. NYRA staff were joined by community participants and local officials on this occasion to acknowledge the work of the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development and the implementation of their vision plan. Over 100 volunteers turned out to clean the sidewalks along Hempstead Turnpike in an effort to beautify that portion of the community which represents the gateway to the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County. NYRA offered its Marquee tent during the off-season and provided transportation for all participants. And, NYRA's graphics team created the posters and banners.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

“Kiaran’s Kids” Learning Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

From left to right, back row - Joanne Adams, NYRA, David Smukler, NYRA, Pat Boyle, Gateway Youth Outreach, Cate Masterson, McLaughlin Racing. Front Row - Madison Thomas, Gateway Youth Outreach, Jennila Pierre-Louis, Gateway Youth Outreach, Mike Louissant, Gateway Youth Outreach, Jamelia Jones, Gateway Youth Outreach, Kiaran McLaughlin, Artie Magnuson, McLaughlin Racing

For an hour or so on Wednesday afternoons at Belmont Park, Kiaran McLaughlin’s barn becomes something more than a stable of world-class thoroughbreds – it becomes a classroom.

On that day, McLaughlin hosts a small group of sixth-graders as part of an after-school program with Gateway Youth Outreach, which supports the youth of Belmont Park’s neighbor, Elmont, with a number of programs and services.

“They’ve been here three times, and they’ve gotten to see a lot in that time,” said McLaughlin. The trainer and The New York Racing Association, Inc. were presented with citations from Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray for their efforts in arranging the weekly educational sessions.

So far, said McLaughlin, the students have learned about the different jobs in the barn, watched a blacksmith at work, and gotten to use a hoof pick on a stable pony. This past Wednesday, they had an opportunity to go to the races and got their photo taken after a race with another trainer, David Donk, who invited the group into the winner’s circle.

“It’s a lot of absorb in a short period of time, but they all seem interested,” said McLaughlin. “It’s something different for them to learn, and more importantly, they get to come inside the gates and see Belmont Park, which is so close to where they live.”

McLaughlin said he hopes the pilot program will expand in the spring to include more students.

“This is a great thing Kiaran and NYRA are doing for the community,” said Ed Ambrosino, councilman with the Town of Hempstead, when the pilot program was first developed. “We are appreciative that they are able and willing to take the time to reach out to the children of the community.”

Gateway Youth Outreach serves the children of Elmont and nearby communities with counseling, education and recreation. Its after-school program is one of many that promote a safe environment for children to develop their talents in healthy, productive ways.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saratoga Race Course Local Advisory Board Visits The Track

The Saratoga Race Course Local Advisory Board was created in 2008 by the New York State Legislature upon granting The New York Racing Association, Inc. a new 25 year franchise to operate thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park and Aqueduct Race Track. The Advisory Board acts as a liaison between NYRA, the local community and the NYS Legislature to work to preserve the historic nature of Saratoga Race Course and perpetuate throughbred racing in Saratoga in the future.

Chairman Joe Torani recently toured the track with the following members of the Board: Tom Roohan, Lauren Roberts, John Carusone, Cindy Hollowood, Charles Wheeler, Bill Willmot and Secretary Skip Carlson. Other members of the Board include: Vice Chariman Matthew Veitch, Michelle Funicello, Arthur Johnson, Patrick Kehoe, Jason Kemper, David Wickerham and me.

NYRA Races to Support Local Charities at Saratoga Race Course

NYRA's Saratoga Race Course was the scene of racing of a different kind during our off-season this fall. During the month of October, we were pleased to host Saratoga Hospital's Annual Run on October 4th and the American Heart Association's Annual North Country Heart Walk on October 24th with over 600 partcipants who were undeterred by torrential rain! In September, we hosted the American Society for Suicide Prevention's Annual Walk for Rita.

Friday, October 23, 2009

NYRA supports the Elmont Business Improvement District

NYRA President and CEO, Charles Hayward presented a check for $20,000 to the Elmont Chamber of Commerce on October 23rd at Belmont Park. These funds are dedicated toward the creation of the Elmont Business Improvement District. NYRA is proud to support the vision plan of the Elmont community and has taken the lead as a community partner and corporate citizen to assist them.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

NYRA Teams Again with Community for Elmont Cleanup Day

Local community groups, backstretch workers, church organizations and employees of The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will team up again on Saturday, October 31, in the second Elmont Cleanup Day.

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, Town of Hempstead Councilman Ed Ambrosino, and Nassau County Legislator John Ciotti are among the government officials scheduled to launch the cleanup effort, set to begin at 9 a.m., rain or shine.

Last year, dozens of volunteers beautified the stretch of Hempstead Turnpike that runs east from the Cross Island Parkway past Meachem Avenue.

This year, Key Clubs from Elmont Memorial High School and Sewanhaka High School, the Elmont Fire Department, St. Boniface Church, St. Vincent DePaul Church, the American Legion and all the Civic Associations from Elmont, as well as NYRA and the Town of Hempstead, are among the community groups participating in the effort.

With Belmont Park’s Marquee Tent serving as operations base, NYRA is providing buses to transport the workers to six locations on both sides of the road as well as providing equipment and trash bags for the effort.

“NYRA is proud to partner with the Elmont community in implementing their vision plan,” said Joanne K. Adams, NYRA’s Community Relations Manager.

The Elmont Chamber of Commerce, the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development and the Elmont Community Council Coalition, Nassau County, the Town of Hempstead and NYRA are among the entities that have come together to make possible a vision for revitalizing Elmont, known as the Gateway to Nassau.

Friday, October 16, 2009

NYRA Supports Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce Annual Awards Breakfast

NYRA was a proud sponsor of the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce 25th Annual Outstanding Small Business Person and Legislative Awards Breakfast which was sold out with over 650 people from the local business community. The participants were representatives of over 50 Chambers of Commerce in Nassau County. NYRA's Belmont Park was highlighted in a piece about key attractions in Nassau County.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Racing on Long Island - Horses to Horsepower

NYRA was invited to participate in the Long Island Library Resources Council's 14th annual conference on October 9th at the Hoffman Center in Muttontown. Dan Silver, NYRA's Director of Comunications and Media Relations, presented a chronological history of throughbred racing and showed videos of the Belmont Stakes/Triple Crown wins of Secretariat and Affirmed as well as the Triple Crown upset of Smarty Jones by Birdstone. NYRA was joined by representatives of the Vanderbilt Cup Races and the Long Island Motor Tracks. I was presented with a copy of a book entitled: "That Belmont Look: An exhibition celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Belmont Park" which was prepared by The New York Historical Society.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

NYRA donates to Exceller Fund and Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund on Jockey Club Gold Cup Day

Charles Hayward, President and CEO, The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) is proud to present a check for $25,000 the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund in the amount of $25,000 following Saturday's first race.

To honor Exceller’s 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup victory, The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) donated $5,000 following Saturday's second race to The Exceller Fund, a non-profit group which works to transition Thoroughbred horses to a second career off the track. The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) also made a donation in the amount of $5,000 to the fund. The Exceller Fund additionally acquires horses that might be at risk for slaughter and cares for them until an adoptive home is found.