March, 2016


NYTHA’S Legislative Event A Success: NYTHA representatives were in Albany Mar. 21 to host the annual reception for legislators and members of the New York racing community, “New York Horse Power.” NYTHA Board members including Vice President Pat Kelly, Joe Appelbaum, Tina Bond and Rick Schosberg, and Executive Director Andy Belfiore were in attendance. Among those they met with were Senator John Bonacic and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, the Chairs of their respective Racing Committees; Senator Kathleen Marchione and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, representatives from Saratoga Springs; Senator Joseph Addabbo, representing Aqueduct’s home district; and the Deputy Majority Leader, Senator John DeFrancisco. Joined by colleagues from the organizations supported by NYTHA, such as BEST, the Racetrack Chaplaincy, Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue and ReRun, they educated elected officials on NYTHA’s many initiatives on behalf of the backstretch community and the horses.

“We’ve been hosting this event for four years now, and it really has made a difference in our relationships in Albany,” NYTHA President Rick Violette Jr. said. “Having the opportunity to meet with our legislators and discuss the issues that affect the Thoroughbred industry face-to-face is invaluable.” Click here for more photos from the event.

Photo: NYTHA VP Pat Kelly (right) with Senator John Bonacic. Killips Photography.

NYTHA Scholarship Deadline Is Apr. 15:  Applications for 2016 NYTHA Scholarships must be submitted no later than  Apr. 15, 2016. Qualified backstretch employees and their direct dependents are eligible for the grants, which can be used for full-time or part-time study at the college or university of the applicant’s choice. NYTHA awards $200,000 in scholarships annually. Schools attended by NYTHA’s scholarship students include Adelphi University, Fordham University, Hunter College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and St. Joseph's College in New York; and Brigham Young University, Embry University, Northern Illinois University and the University of Kentucky out of state.  Click here for the application

Photo: Former NYTHA Scholarship Efrain Saune, now a surgical technician at Mercy Medical Center.

Attention Trainers: The New York State Gaming Commission will not issue or renew licenses for backstretch workers whose documents are not up to date.  Remind your employees to check their paperwork to be sure everything is in order before visiting the Gaming Commission office.

RTCA - NY: The New York Racing Association will name a race on the Apr. 9 Wood Memorial undercard for the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America – New York. RTCA-NY will present both the groom and hotwalker of the winning horse with a trophy, a sweatshirt and a $100 department store gift certificate.

BEST: The Backstretch Employee Service Team’s Saratoga program will begin Apr. 15. As always, BEST will provide a wide array of services to the backstretch community, including a primary care medical clinic; drug and alcohol counseling; transportation and translation assistance for all dental and medical appointments; and oversight of the “Backstretch Appreciation” events sponsored by Mary Lou Whitney and John Hendrickson. The BEST staff will be joined by at least 70 volunteers from the Saratoga Springs community. The telephone number at the BEST Saratoga office is (518) 587-3720.

Since June of 2015, BEST has subcontracted with the Long Island Federally Qualified Health Center (LIFQHC) to operate the BEST Medical Clinic at Belmont Park. This new relationship has been successful, with clinic usage showing a 30% increase to date. 

BCCA: The Belmont Child Care Association is partnering with local non-profit organizations to encourage community participation through its Kids Helping Kids Initiative. BCCA partnered with the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island to create Valentine’s cards for children in the hospital, and the school-age children of backstretch workers will visit later this spring to make desserts for the families. BCCA’s new partnership with the Town of Hempstead’s Camp ANCHOR (Answering the Needs of Citizens with Handicaps through Organized Recreation) will provide backstretch families the opportunity to picnic on the beach and have access to the swimming pools, while BCCA will offer its garden for Camp ANCHOR children to plant flowers and vegetables.

BCCA invites everyone to SAVE the DATE for:

June 2, 2016: Spring Fling Hat Luncheon and Fashion Show, honoring Theresa Elmore Behrendt, Thoroughbred Industry Honoree, and Jacqueline M. Goode, Community Honoree
11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., The Garden City Hotel, Garden City, NY

June 10, 2016: Belmont Stakes Eve Reception
5:30-7:30 p.m., Anna House, Belmont Park, Gate 6, Elmont, NY
Call (516) 488-2103 for additional information.

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