​NYRA Cares: Fifteenth annual Elmont/Belmont parade set for Saturday June 3
May 9, 2023
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​NYRA Cares: Fifteenth annual Elmont/Belmont parade set for Saturday June 3

by NYRA Press Office

In what has become an increasingly important part of the week leading up to the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and the Elmont Parade Committee today announced that the Paul Sapienza Elmont/Belmont Parade will be held on Saturday, June 3.

Named for the late Paul Sapienza, a lifelong Elmont resident and former president of the Elmont Chamber of Commerce, the 15th annual parade will again serve as the traditional kickoff to the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. It will kick off at approximately 10 a.m. with marchers starting in the parking lot of the Alva T. Stanforth Sports Complex next to the Elmont Library (700 Hempstead Turnpike) and proceeding west on Hempstead Turnpike, before making a sharp right turn through Gate 5 at Belmont.

Individuals interested in marching in this year’s parade should assemble at 9:30 a.m. in the Alva T. Stanforth Sports Complex. 

Among the participants will be elected officials, local leaders, marching bands from Elmont public schools, members of the police and fire departments and local youth organizations. The parade distance is approximately 1.4 miles.

This year’s grand marshals will be Ken Rosner, Superintendent of the Elmont Union Free School District; Kevin Dougherty, Principal of the Elmont Memorial High School; and Scott Cushing, longtime community leader.

With the 155th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday, June 10 as its centerpiece, this year’s three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival kicks off on Thursday, June 8 and will include 16 stakes races in total, with six Grade 1 races to be contested on Belmont Stakes Day.

For additional information and details on hospitality offerings, ticket packages and pricing for the Belmont Stakes, visit BelmontStakes.com. For full terms and conditions, visit https://www.belmontstakes.com/tickets

Getting to know…Bob Barker

This month’s edition of Getting to know…visits with Bob Barker, the President of the Locustwood/Gotham Civic Association, an Elmont-based organization whose mission is to develop, encourage and foster justice and equality of opportunity in Elmont.

Mr. Barker, who lives in the shadow of Belmont Park, is a longtime community leader and was honored by the Town of Hempstead with the 2022 Make a Difference Award. Barker recently spoke with NYRA to address Belmont Park’s role within the community as well as the news that NYRA has secured a $455 million loan to build new thoroughbred racing facilities at Belmont Park. 

You were among the elected officials and community leaders on hand last Thursday at opening day of the spring/summer meet at Belmont Park. What does Belmont Park’s modernization mean to Elmont and the surrounding area?

NYRA has been involved in the community here for years. The new Belmont Park is going to be something really phenomenal – and long overdue. I look forward to a project that will bring a lot of light to this community. That’s why people here are totally behind the modernization. It will transform Elmont. 

What in particular are you looking forward to with this project?

The new Belmont will bring jobs – and good jobs that offer decent pay. That’s the number one priority. And we hope it will lead to opportunities for local businesses such as black-owned businesses that want to be part of that process. We will work closely with NYRA to identify prospects and keep building on the history we already have with them.

Job creation is clearly central to this project. Have you identified specifics?

We’re looking to create opportunities at the ‘new’ Belmont for students at Elmont Memorial High School. That could be an internship program in partnership with NYRA for students interested in working with horses or in becoming a vet.

We also hope to be involved with the development of the Belmont Park infield, which we know NYRA plans to open up to the community at various times throughout the year. It would be great to have a place where our community can gather.

 I’m confident we’ll move forward on some of these projects. NYRA has been really great about dialogue; they’re constantly in contact.

In a more general sense, how do you see the impact of the track’s modernization on Elmont?

We want to change the narrative about how people see Elmont. I think our town is already on the way up and the new park will help us move forward – and in turn, help trigger improvements and expansion in other businesses as well.

That goes right back to your organization’s mission, doesn’t it?

It does. And what Belmont Park’s modernization will help us create is a town transformed, a place where people will want to live. We want people to come in and say, ‘wow, what a town,” due in part to the new track and all the opportunities it presents. That’s why the Belmont modernization is so significant.

In the community…

NYRA's Maggie Wolfendale-Morley to be honored at BCCA's Spring Fling Hat Luncheon

NYRA TV Analyst Maggie Wolfendale-Morley [Thoroughbred Industry Honoree] and Joan Hope MacNaughton, founder of Leggz Ltd. Dance Studio and Associate Publisher of Schneps Media [Community Honoree], will be feted at the Belmont Child Care Association's [BCCA] Spring Fling Hat Luncheon.

The annual event, featuring celebrity emcee Antoinette Biordi - a four-time Emmy Award-winner and News12 anchor, is set for Thursday, June 8, at the Garden City Hotel and will feature a fashion presentation by J. McLaughlin, as well as a spring fling boutique, luxury raffle and live auction.

For more details and to purchase tickets/sponsorships, please visit https://e.givesmart.com/events/viT/

TRF’s BBQ at the Barn returns! 

One of the most anticipated events of the summer, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s TRF BBQ at the Barn, will return in 2023 and will be held at the beautiful Saratoga Winery on Tuesday, August 22 from 5:00-9:00 p.m. 

In addition to a delicious meal (with a vegetarian option!), the event will feature family friendly activities, music, raffle and silent auction items along with special guests.

For more information, please visit https://www.trfinc.org/event/bbq-at-the-barn-2023/

A helping hand….

Experience the thrill of racing at Saratoga from the BEST seat in the house

Support the Backstretch Employee Service Team [B.E.S.T.] and watch the third race of a summer card at Saratoga Race Course from the announcer's booth. Meet track announcer Frank Mirahmadi, take in the breathtaking view, and share in a truly special moment as he calls the day’s 3rd Race. The best part? Your ticket cost goes directly to benefit B.E.S.T. Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of the action!

-      1 Ticket per person/$100 a ticket

-      Available every race day during the Saratoga Season

-      Ages 10 & up

-      Not Wheelchair accessible

-      Please turn your cell phones off when in the booth

-      No alcoholic drinks or food may be brought into the booth.

-      Masks worn at individual discretion

Due to the limited availability for spectators in the booth, along with a heavy demand by racing fans to participate, a no refund policy will be observed. However, there will be an opportunity to reschedule to a date, upon availability, provided the original booking date can be resold.

For more information, please reach out to Sheriza Serravento at [email protected] 

B.E.S.T. is a nonprofit organization that is devoted to resolving the health and social needs of the several thousand barn area ("backstretch") workers of the Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga racetracks by providing on-site counseling and primary healthcare services, access to health insurance, and case management assistance.

To learn more visit https://www.bestbackstretch.org/

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