Sunday, December 9, 2012

NYRA Sponsors Spirit of Giving Weekend at Aqueduct

NYRA sponsored its annual Spirit of Giving weekend at Aqueduct Race Track on December 8th and 9th.
NYRA was proud to welcome Major Chuck Kilbride, U.S. Marines (ret.) and other U.S. Marines who joined us for our annual Toys for Tots campaign. The U.S. Marines were joined by the Honorary Chair of the Toys for Tots Campaign, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.They took a moment out of their busy day to visit the Jockeys Room.

NYRA also saluted Jamaica Hospital Medical Center as they were honored to be the recipients of the proceeds of the annual Stocking Stuffer Giveway.

NYRA formally welcomed and presented a check for $100,000 to the American Red Cross for local New York hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

NYRA was delighted that the following representatives from Community Board #10 joined us to present the trophy for the Queens County Handicap: Betty Braton, Chair; Karyn Peterson, Manager, and Donna Gilmartin, Aqueduct Liaison.

Monday, November 19, 2012

NYRA Supports RTCA Thanksgiving Boxes of Love

NYRA was proud to support the annual Thanksgiving Boxes of Love distribution to the backstretch. The Race Trace Chaplaincy coordinates this program every year to provide Thanksgiving meals to the families of the backstretch at Aqueduct Race Track and Belmont Park.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

NYRA Announces Donation to the American Red Cross

NYRA President and COO, Ellen McClain, was proud to announce that NYRA will donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross to be designated to Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief in New York. Our neighbors near Aqueduct Race Track and Belmont Park were devastated by the storm and NYRA wants to provide much needed support.
NYRA reached out to the backstretch organizations to compile information which we have provided to the American Red Cross for the needs of the backstretch community.
NYRA embraces its responsibility as good corporate citizen and community leader during this difficult time for our neighbors, employees, and horsemen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NYRA Thanks Floral Park Memorial High School for Clothing Drive to Benefit the Backstretch Community

NYRA wishes to thank the National Junior Honor Society of Floral Park Memorial High School for hosting a clothing drive for the backstretch community during their Homecoming Day festivities on October 20th.
Chaplain Humberto Chavez of the Race Track Chaplaincy of New York arrived at the high school with his van to collect over 75 bags of clothing! I was pleased to join him along with Floral Park Memorial High School Principal, Kathy Sotille, Floral Park Village Administrator, Patrick Farrell and Floral Park Village Trustee, Dominick Longobardi.
NYRA is delighted to work with this wonderful group of students who are planning a food drive for the winter and a book drive for the spring.
We thank them for a most impressive community outreach!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NYRA, Kiaran's Kids and Gateway Youth Outreach

NYRA was proud to recognize the work of Gateway Youth Outreach of Elmont and celebrate three years of the Kiaran's Kids program. Each week, children in the program are provided with a behind the scenes experience of what it takes to care for thoroughbreds and condition them for the races.
NYRA thanks Kiaran McLaughlin and Artie Magnussen for their outreach and support!

NYRA and Kiaran's Kids were proud to welcome New York State Senator Jack Martins and Town of Hempstead Councilman Ed Ambrosino who stopped by Belmont Park to meet the children and hear first hand about their experiences.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Remembering Irene and Lee - The Recovery Continues

NYRA was proud to host the communities of Schoharie, Schenectady, Middleburgh and Prattsville at Saratoga Race Course on Friday, August 31st to commemorate the one year anniversary of the tropical storms that devastated these areas.
NYRA President and COO, Ellen McClain, made a $5000 donation to the relief efforts and invited our fans to contribute as well. We will not forget the friends and neighbors in the local areas who are still rebuiding following the aftermath of the storms.

Saratoga Automobile Museum

NYRA was proud to welcome the Saratoga Automobile Museum to Saratoga Race Course. They shared information about the museum and its programs in the Community Outreach Booth on track on Friday, August 31st. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Luke's Legacy Scholarship Fund at Saratoga Race Course

Luke's Legacy Scholarship Fund joined us in the Community Outreach Booth on August 29 and presented a trophy in recognition of Luke Romano, a young fan who lost his life following a battle with Leukemia. NYRA was proud to welcome Luke's family and friends to Saratoga Race Course. Jockeys Ramon Dominquez and John Velasquez joined winning jockey Cornelio Velasquez for the trophy presentation following the race 4.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery Visits Saratoga Race Course

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery of Skidmore College joined us at Saratoga Race Course on Monday, August 27. They were located in the Community Outreach Booth where they provided information about their programs and art activities for children. NYRA was proud to welcome them back to Saratoga Race Course.

Backstretch Volunteers Appreciation Day at Saratoga Race Course

NYRA and NYTHA were proud to recognize the 125 backstretch volunteers who give their time and energy every summer to assist the workers on the backstretch. The volunteers were recognized for their efforts on Monday, August 27 and presented with programs and lunch vouchers to enjoy a Day at the Races.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

NYRA was proud to host the National Museum of Dance at Saratoga Race Course

NYRA was proud to welcome the National Museum of Dance to Saratoga Race Course. Michele Riggi, President of the National Museum of Dance, presented the trophy for their race and she was joined by dancers from the School of the Arts.

NYRA provided the Community Outreach Booth to the museum where they distributed information and collected donations.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fabulous Fillies Day at Saratoga Race Course

There was a PINK OUT at Saratoga Race Course on Friday, August 17th to celebrate women and the glamour that they bring to the track each year! NYRA is proud to partner with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation ("BCRF") and we are delighted to announce that close to $100,000 was raised on the day.

NYRA was proud to honor an extraordinary woman in the sport of Thoroughbred racing, Virginia Kraft Payson.

All fans dressed in pink received free admission and one lucky lady won a diamond necklace thanks to NYRA sponsor, Northeastern Fine Jewelers.

The Sizzling Hot Pink Saratoga Hat Luncheon was place to be this season and we were honored to have J. Dirk Iglehart, MD, BCRF top researcher, as our guest speaker. BCRF President Myra Biblowit attended the luncheon and ESPN's Jeannine Edwards was the emcee.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

NYRA Welcomes The Secretariat Foundation to Saratoga Race Course

The Secretariat Foundation joined us at Saratoga Race Course on August 11th and 12th to mark the 40th Anniversary of Secretariat's win in the Sanford and the Hopeful. Hall of Fame jockey, Ron Turcotte, signed autographs for fans on both days to benefit the Secretariat Foundation.

The mission of the Secretariat Foundation is to raise funds and awareness for Thoroughbred retirement programs as well as the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

NYRA Welcomes SPAC and The Philadelphia Orchestra to Saratoga Race Course

NYRA was proud to welcome the Saratoga Performing Arts Center ("SPAC") and The Philadelphia Orchestra to Saratoga Race Course on August 1st. Jeff Kirschen, Jeff Lang, and Daniel Williams, three principal musicians, accompanied Sam the Bugler with the Call to the Post and joined in the trophy presentation along with SPAC President, Marcia White, SPAC Chief Marketing and Development Officer, Shane Wiliams-Ness, and The Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO, Allison Vulgamore.

Monday, July 30, 2012

NYRA Welcomes the Race for Education to Saratoga Race Course

NYRA was proud to welcome the Race for Education to Saratoga Race Course on July 30th as they presented their annual Olivia M. Saylor/Fleet Indian scholarship to Juan Carlos Guerra who is in his last year at the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine.
The mission of the Race for Education is to engage the yough of the backside racing community and provide positive growth and education to those individuals for a bright academic future.

Friday, July 27, 2012

NYRA Hosts Skidmore College Opportunity Program at Saratoga Race Course

NYRA was proud to welcome the Skidmore College Opportunity Program to Saratoga Race Course on College Day! The students began their afternoon with a meeting with NYRA President and COO, Ellen McClain and NYRA Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Rodnell Workman. They were surprised with a trophy presentation following their private tour of the track and their Day at the Races was completed with dinner at The Post.

NYRA looks forward to welcoming them back next year!

Fabulous Fillies Day - Friday, August 17

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Floral Park Belmont Stakes Festival Rounds Out Belmont Stakes Week

This year, the Floral Park Belmont Stakes Festival was held on Sunday, June 10th to round out Belmont Stakes week. This fabulous afternoon of family fun was attended by thousands of people. NYRA track announcer, Tom Durkin, NYRA racing analyst, Jason Blewitt, and jockey Ramon Dominguez (ALL three are Floral Park residents) attended the event. NYRA is proud sponsor of the Floral Park Belmont Stakes Festival along with the Floral Park Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Floral Park. The Floral Park Art League's annual spring show of equine art is sponsored by NYRA. I was proud to present the first place winner, Emilio J. Allocco, with his award and we will be showcasing his fine work at Belmont Park.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

NYRA Hosts Make-A-Wish Grantee, Emily Forge, on Belmont Stakes Day

Emily Forge (17) is a beautiful young woman whose interest is Thoroughbred racing. She owns her own yearlings which she plans to bring to auction. A native of Kansas, she traveled with her family to New York to attend the Belmont Stakes. Emily is battling Lupus, but she is very positive and focused on her future. In addition to attending the press party, she was given a private tour of the barns by Richard Migliore. Artie Magnusen of Kiaran McLaughlin Racing entertained the family at their barn during the morning routine. Emily wowed everyone she met with her knowledge and passion for the sport.
NYRA named the second race for Emily Forge as well as another Make-a-Wish grantee, Hope Hudson (12). Hope attended the Kentucky Derby and the connections to I'll Have Another sponsored her journey to the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Garden City Belmont Stakes Festival

Each year, on the eve of the Belmont Stakes, the Garden City community hosts a Belmont Stakes street festival. Thousands of people attend the event which boasts live music, great food and family fun. This year, young children enjoyed pony rides and adults enjoyed a delicious Wing Off contest for best chicken wings, to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. In addition, Miss Gotham City stopped by to say hello! NYRA is proud to serve as a sponsor (along with the Garden City Hotel and the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group)for this fabulous event each year. A wonderful display of posters designed by children were seen in stores throughout the Village. The Win, Place and Show recipients will have their work showcased at Belmont Park.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Belmont Stakes Charity Celebration held at the Rubin Museum, NYC

NYRA was proud to serve as a sponsor for the annual Belmont Stakes Charity Celebration to benefit the Jockey Club Foundation and the Backstretch Employee Services Team. This year's event was held at the Rubin Museum on Art in New York City. It was a beautiful event which raised much needed funds for both organizations. This is a must GO TO event every year!

Hat and Author Luncheon to Benefit the Kidney and Urology Foundation of America

One of the highlights of Belmont Stakes week was the Hat and Author Luncheon to benefit the Kidney and Urology Foundation of America. Ladies in beautiful hats enjoyed a wonderful afternoon at the Woodlands and raised significant funds for this very worthwhile charity. I was proud to receive the Best in Show Award for my hat. After all, we ALL know that women in beautiful hats are a Thoroughbred racing tradition!!

Jockeys Visit Ronald McDonald House of Long Island

John Velasquez led the team of jockeys on their annual visit to Ronald McDonald House of Long Island on June 7th. Each year, the jockeys stop by two days before the Belmont Stakes bringing joy to the children who ride on ponies led by the jockeys around the grounds of the magnificient Ronald McDonald House of Long Island.This year, Johnny was joined by Mario Gutierrez, Julien Leparoux, Maylan Studart, Jose Ortiz, and Irad Ortiz. The jockeys presented the children with goggles which were autographed by all of our athletes. Many thanks to everyone for their participation!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

PRIDE - Celebrating the Art of the Backstretch Workers of Belmont Park and Aqueduct Race Track

NYRA is proud to recognize Hofstra University for hosting an art exhibition and reception: PRIDE -
Celebrating the Art of the Backstretch Workers of Belmont Park and Aqueduct Race Track and the Backstretch Employee Services Team ("B.E.S.T.") for providing assistance and coordination of the materials for the artists.The exhibit opened on Wednesday, June 6th and will run through the end of July. You may veiw the incredible work of our backstretch workers at the Lowenfeld Gallery and Exhibition Hall, Axinn Library, 10th Floor, South Campus of Hofstra University. The exhibiton is magnificient and it showcases the incredible talent and passion of the people who care for the horses. NYRA thanks Hofstra for making this one of the key events to attend during Belmont Stakes week!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Belmont Stakes Week Kick-Off Raises Funds For The Little Baby Face Foundation

NYRA and The Garden City Hotel were proud to kick-off Belmont Stakes week at the hotel with a reception to benefit The Little Baby Face Foundation. Lauralouise Duffy Blatt, founder of the Little Baby Face Foundation, shared some incredible stories about the lives of children who are changed by the incredible surgeries that the Foundation underwrites. For more information about the Little Baby Face Foundation, go to

Sunday, June 3, 2012

NYRA Hosts Belmont Stakes Blue Ribbon Run for Prostate Cancer

NYRA was thrilled to team up with the Greater Long Island Runners Club and the Integrated Medical Foundation for the inaugural Belmont Stakes Blue Ribbon Run for Prostate Cancer. Close to 1000 runners registered for the 5K run which looped around the perimeter of the race track. The last quarter mile was run on Belmont Park's dirt track and ended at the historic finish line one week before the 144th running of the Belmont Stakes! We invite everyone to join us again next year as we work together to win the race against prostate cancer.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

NYRA Kicks-Off Belmont Stakes Week with Elmont's 2012 Belmont Stakes Parade

The Elmont 2012 Belmont Stakes parade was huge success thanks to the participation of the community's talented youth and local civic organizations. The Elmont Chamber of Commerce and NYRA sponsored the event with local support from the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County. The community enjoyed the Gateway Youth Outreach Family Field Day and the Franklin Square - Elmont Rotary Crafts Fair immediately following the parade.
NYRA provided its tram, the starting gate and legendary Sam the Bugler to bring Belmont Stakes excitement to its viewers. Sam played a Triple Crown rendition which wowed the crowd during the parade ceremony.
We were proud to welcome Acacia Courtney, Miss Gotham City, who joined in the festivities. She is in a quest for the Miss New York title in a few weeks!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

NYRA Welcomes the USO to Belmont Park

NYRA was proud to welcome the USO to Belmont Park on May 27th as part of our Memorial Day weekend festivities. Natalie Loftin Bell of the USO Liberty Bells performed the National Anthem and presented the trophy for the first race.

NYRA offered FREE admission to currently serving military men and women and their families and we look forward to welcoming them back next year!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

NYRA Joined in the Armed Forces Day Ceremony in South Floral Park

I was delighted to attend the Armed Forces Day ceremony in South Floral Park, NY on May 19th. NYRA is proud to receive the invitation from the Mayor of South Floral Park each year and we thank the community for including NYRA in their ceremony to commemorate this very special day.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

NYRA's Assistant General Counsel and Compliance Officer Visits P.S./M.S. 146 for Career Day

Pasquale Viscusi, NYRA's Assistant General Counsel and Compliance Officer, visited P.S./M.S 146 in Queens for their annual Career Day. Once again, Pasquale wowed the students with his personal experiences as he has worked in Thoroughbred racing for over 25 years. This was his second invitation to join the school on this important day. Pasquale provided the students with NYRA caps to commemorate the occasion. NYRA was honored to participate once again!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

NYRA Welcomed Tiger Cub Scout Den #1 to Belmont Park

NYRA was proud to welcome Tiger Cub Scout Den #1 (Floral Park-Bellerose Pack 482) to Belmont Park! The scouts toured the Jockey's Room and they met Sam the Bugler who played a few familiar tunes for them. The scouts were thrilled to join top jockey, Ramon Dominquez, in the Winner's Circle following his win in the 8th race. They had a terrific time at beautiful Belmont Park!

Friday, April 27, 2012

NYRA Welcomes Community Leaders to Belmont Park on Opening Day

The New York Racing Association, Inc. was proud to welcome local officialas and community leaders from Elmont, Floral Park and Garden City at Belmont Park on Opening Day, April 27th. NYRA Chief Financial Officer, Susanne Stover, joined the group for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the paddock. NYRA honored the community leaders and their outstanding work by naming the first race for them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

McClain Honored as One of Top 25 Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal

Ellen McClain, executive vice president and chief operating officer of The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), has been named one of 2012’s “25 Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal (TNJ).

“It is a wonderful honor to be named to this list by The Network Journal,” said McClain, who holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration (’93) and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Brown University (’86). “The list includes many extraordinary women and it is a great thrill to be recognized alongside them.”

McClain, 47, was hired by NYRA in July 2009 as senior vice president and chief financial officer. In that position, she restructured the finance organization to better meet the financial reporting, cash management and compliance demands of NYRA, a complex organization with three facilities, secure wagering operations and an extensive simulcast television network.

In October 2011, McClain, who boasts a 20-year track record in media finance and operations, was promoted to NYRA executive vice president and chief operating officer, becoming both the first woman and the first African-American to serve in this role for the company.

“Ellen is very deserving of this honor and I join everyone at NYRA in congratulating her,” said Charles Hayward, NYRA president and chief executive officer. “Her management skills – tremendous strategic vision, analytical insight, and strong collaborative abilities – made her a natural fit for appointment to one of the most significant management positions in the thoroughbred racing industry.”

The honorees will be featured in the March issue of the TNJ. In addition, TNJ will honor these movers and shakers during Women’s History Month at its 14th Anniversary Luncheon on March 22 at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel.

“The women we are honoring this year are in the forefront of American leadership and symbolize the diversity and advancement that has occurred across industry lines,” states TNJ Publisher and CEO Aziz Gueye Adetimirin. The Mistress of Ceremonies for the luncheon will be Brenda Blackmon, co-anchor of My9 WWOR-TV and author of “A Mom’s Story”. The event annually attracts a ‘Who’s Who’ of prominent business executives in various industries.

A full list of the honorees can be found at the following site:

About The Network Journal

Founded in 1993, The Network Journal a premier monthly magazine except combined issues in July/August and December/January which plays a major role in sharing information and resources that informs and educates professionals, corporate executives and small business owners by providing news and commentary on issues that affect the growth of businesses and the advancement of professionals in the workplace for an audience of predominantly African-American. Engaging over 88,000 readers, The Network Journal is distributed nationwide with a focus on the Tri-state area (NY/NJ/CT) and features successful entrepreneurs and professionals who offer insights on business and career-building strategies, The Network Journal highlights trends in key industries, providing information on valuable resources in the corporate, government, and not-for-profit sectors. For more information call 212-962-3791, or visit the web site:

About The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Founded in 1955, and franchised to run thoroughbred racing at New York’s three major tracks through 2033, NYRA boasts a lineage that actually stretches back almost 150 years. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of the state’s thoroughbred business which contributes more than $2 billion annually to New York State’s urban, suburban and rural economy. In 2011, more than 1.8 million people attended the live races at NYRA tracks. Factoring in nationwide off-track wagering, the average daily betting handle on NYRA races totals more than $8.1 million. NYRA has a vast network of websites, including,, and You can also follow NYRA on social media platforms Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), the Elmont Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Long Island Running Club and Integrated Medical Foundation are joining forces to stage the inaugural Belmont Stakes Blue Ribbon 5 Kilometer Run for Prostate Cancer. The Run will be held on Sunday evening, June 3, 2012 at Belmont Park, with NYRA’s Sam Grossman “Sam the Bugler” calling everyone to the post at 7:15 PM.

The runners and walkers will traverse a USA Track & Field certified 5 Kilometer course entirely within the grounds of Belmont Park, leading up to an exciting finish at the finish line on the race track.

The Run will be a prelude to the 144th running of the Belmont Stakes six days later, and every entrant will receive a top quality technical “tank top” to commemorate the occasion. “Win, place and show” awards will be presented to the top male and female overall and masters finishers, as well as the top men and women finishers in each of 17 age groups from 12 and under through 85 plus.

The entire net proceeds will go to benefit the Integrated Medical Foundation (“Working together for Better Men’s Health and to fight prostate cancer”), and its mission to promote awareness and early detection of prostate cancer.

“The Belmont Stakes is Thoroughbred racing’s premiere race which is the true test of a champion,” observed Joanne K. Adams, NYRA’s Director of Community Relations. “The new Belmont Stakes Blue Ribbon Run promises to be one of the most exciting 5K Runs in the United States! This will be a real test for all of the champion runners as they make their way onto the dirt track at Belmont Park.”

Integrated Medical Foundation Executive Director Rhonda Samuel was equally enthusiastic about the event, and how it will be a crowning moment for prostate cancer awareness and early detection. “Early detection saves lives! We are thrilled to be staging this exciting inaugural event at Belmont Park, and we are hopeful that it will help us reach our goal of raising funds to fight prostate cancer through advocacy, awareness, and screenings.”

Sponsorship opportunities are still available at every level. This is an unmatched opportunity to help play a major role in the fight against prostate cancer at the same time as your company will get the kind of publicity that a unique event like the Belmont Stakes Blue Ribbon 5K will engender. Call Rhonda Samuel at (631) 247-0100 for more information.

Mark your calendar now for Sunday evening, June 3rd. Applications will be available and online registration will be open in early March. Call the Greater Long Island Running Club at (516)349-7646 for more information or go to

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NYRA Provides Funding for Scholarship Program for the Gateway Youth Outreach After School Programs

NYRA President and CEO, Charles E. Hayward, has announced that NYRA will donate $5,000 to Gateway Youth Outreach ("GYO") of Elmont which will fund scholarships for children to attend the after the school program. Mr. Hayward will present the check to GYO in the New Year.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

NYRA is Proud to Support the Annual MDA Muscle Team Gala

Over 800 people attended the 2012 Annual MDA Muscle Team gala in NYC to support the important programs of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Jockeys, Ramon Dominquez and Maylan Studdart, joined other professional star athletes in their quest to raise funds and awareness for this cause. NYRA was a proud supporter of the event and we look forward to continued collaberation with the MDA!