Monday, March 29, 2010

NYRA and Repole Stable Team Up to Help Horse Rescue and Horse Retirement

In order to raise awareness for and benefit horse rescue and retirement organizations, Mike Repole, owner of Repole Stable, and The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) are donating a total of $30,000 to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, and the Exceller Fund on Wood Memorial Day, Saturday, April 3 at Aqueduct Racetrack in addition to an on-track retirement ceremony for Cool N Collective.

Owned by Repole Stable, Cool N Collective has raced 81 times in his career, spanning eleven years, with an incredible record of 15 wins, 27 seconds, and 13 thirds. As a 3-year-old in 2000, he earned his lone stakes victory in the 2000 Elgin Stakes at Woodbine, a race he ran runner-up in three straight times from 2002 – 04. He also ran second in the Grade 2 Pegasus Handicap at the Meadowlands in 2000, his sole graded placing. The bay gelding will be retired to Old Friends at Cabin Creek: the Bobby Frankel Division, scheduled to officially open on July 22, 2010 in Greenfield Center, N.Y.

“Cool N Collective is one of the reasons why I have such a passion for thoroughbred racing and why I got into the game,” said Mike Repole, NYRA’s leading owner in 2009 with 51 wins. “For a 13-year-old horse to go out there and put the effort into every race that he does is an amazing accomplishment. I’ve owned over 300 horses in my life, running the spectrum from graded stakes runners to low level claimers, and at the end of their careers, they all need to be treated the same. Horses are the stars of our sport, and it is the owners’ responsibilities to take care of all of them once they are ready for retirement, whether they are 3 or 13. We owe all of the incredible rescue organizations a debt of gratitude and all the financial support that we can afford.”

On Wood Memorial Day, Saturday, April 3, Cool N Collective will parade in front of the stands prior to the 6th race. Following the ceremony, Mike Repole and NYRA will present checks totaling $30,000 to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, and the Exceller Fund.

In addition, each of the organizations will have an on-track presence on Wood Memorial Day and will be collecting donations to support their thoroughbred rescue and retirement operations.

Old Friends:
Exceller Fund:
Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Elmont Civic Associations Acknowledge NYRA's Work In Their Community

The Elmont East End Civic Association acknowledged NYRA at the American Legion Law and Order Awards Ceremony on March 12. President Patrick Nicolosi presented me with the award on behalf of his civic association for NYRA's establishment of the after school program with Gateway Youth Outreach at Belmont Park, NYRA's organization of the annual Belmont Stakes parade and Community Day at Belmont Park, NYRA's participation on the Board of the Elmont Coalition of Sustainable Development and the Elmont Business Improvement District Establishment Board and NYRA's coordination of the Annual Clean-Up Day.
The Elmont Argo Civic Association acknowledged NYRA's work in the community at their monthly meeting on March 22. I was asked to be a guest speaker and I was acknowledged along with five other remarkable women by their President, Mimi Pierre, in their Women of Distinction ceremony.
I am so pleased to work with such a dynamic group of people who strive to make their community a better place. We're all aiming to fulfill a special dream which includes economic develoment and beautification of Elmont - Home of the Belmont Stakes.

Senator Joseph Addabbo to host Job Fair at Aqueduct

Senator Joseph Addabbo will host a Job Fair at Aqueduct Racetrack on Friday, April 9. "In this time of rising unemployment, I'm holding my FREE Job Fair for those who want to get back to work. If you're looking for work, we'll try to find a job for you at my job fair," said Senator Joe Addabbo. For additional information, please call the Senator's Office at 718-738-1111. NYRA is proud to work with the Senator on this important event.

Click here for directions to Aqueduct

Friday, March 19, 2010

B.E.S.T Names Paul Ruchames as New Executive Director

The Backstretch Employee Service Team of New York, Inc. (B.E.S.T) announced today that Paul Ruchames has been named executive director of the organization, which provides a full range of health and human services to support workers in the barn areas at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course.

Ruchames, a licensed clinical social worker with more than 30 years of experience will oversee the daily operations of B.E.S.T, including the coordination of health benefits, provision of comprehensive, on-site counseling services for individuals and groups, and the management of on-site primary care clinics for backstretch workers at both Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. He will oversee nine full- and part-time staff members and more than 125 volunteers.

“Paul’s extensive counseling and social services background make him an ideal choice to lead B.E.S.T,” said David Smukler, B.E.S.T board member and Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations at The New York Racing Association, Inc. “He has a proven track record of developing and advancing organizations, and his previous work in the Nassau County and Queens communities provides invaluable perspective on some of the issues facing backstretch workers in New York. We’re delighted to have him on board.”

Since 2008, Ruchames has served as the director of outpatient services and deputy director for the division of substance abuse at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in the Bronx, NY, with administrative responsibilities for 3,600 patients and 220 staff members.

From 1986-2006, Ruchames was the executive director of the Counseling Service of Eastern District New York (EDNY), a non-profit out-patient chemical dependence treatment agency serving the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Nassau County. During his tenure at the Counseling Service of EDNY, Ruchames oversaw all administrative functions including a $3.3 million budget, a staff of 75, and 1,000 clients. He secured an 800 percent increase in funding for the organization and created six new treatment sites.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to join B.E.S.T,” Ruchames said. “I feel my career experience to date has given me the foundation necessary to have a major, positive impact on the backstretch population. I look forward to working with all of the stakeholders connected to the racetrack and welcome their input.”

Ruchames holds a Master of Social Work from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., from which he graduated in 1978. He is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of New York and has a private psychotherapy practice in Floral Park, NY.

In addition to his professional experience, Ruchames possesses wide-ranging volunteer credentials. A current and long-standing member of both the Long Island Recovery Advocates and Board of Nassau County National Association of Social Workers Steering Committee, Ruchames has also served as a member of the Nassau-Suffolk HIV Services Planning Council, a member of Social Workers for Disaster Relief, and a member of Nassau County Executive Task Force on Offender Re-Entry, among many other groups. In 2006, he was named “Social Worker of the Year” by the Nassau County Division of the National Association of Social Workers and in 2003 was an honoree of the “100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care.”

B.E.S.T. is a registered 501(c)(3) agency that provides a full range of health and human services to support workers in the barn areas of the racetracks at Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Saratoga. The goal of B.E.S.T. is to draw upon strong connections to resources in the racing industry and extended community so that we can all help backstretch workers lead healthy and full lives.

Thursday, March 11, 2010