Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Belmont Jockeys to Visit Ronald McDonald House

On Thursday, June 3, more than a half-dozen jockeys from Belmont Park will ride into the hearts of families at the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island as part of the annual Jockey Day event.

Two days before the 142nd running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes, Alan Garcia, Javier Castellano, Maylan Studart, John Velazquez and Edgar Prado, among others, will travel to the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park at 10:30 a.m. to mingle with children at the House. Clad in their colorful silks, the riders will pose for photographs and distribute gifts of personally autographed riding goggles and hats.

“This is a very exciting event for our children and their families,” says Executive Director Joanne Reda. “Meeting the jockeys is always fun for everyone. We wish them good luck on Saturday.”

Garcia and Velazquez will have mounts in this year’s Belmont, with Garcia riding Stately Victor and Velazquez aboard Fly Down. Garcia won the 2008 Belmont Stakes aboard Da’ Tara, while Velazquez won the 2007 race with the filly Rags to Riches, the first female to win the Belmont in 102 years. They are the only two of the 11 jockeys with Belmont victories to their credit.

The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island is a ‘home-away-from home’ for families who are caring for seriously ill children undergoing medical treatment in area hospitals. Located on the campus of Schneider Children’s Hospital, the House accommodates families in a warm and supportive environment. Since opening in 1986, approximately 13,000 families from the United States and more than 80 countries around the world have been served. Many of the families are from Queens, Suffolk and Nassau Counties, as well as the surrounding metropolitan area.