The Holiday Spirit Thrives at Mid-Atlantic Tracks

The holiday season can bring out the best in us, and racetracks are no exception. Though philanthropic initiatives proliferate throughout the year, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, racing people, both front side and back, make extra efforts to help those less fortunate. The holiday work of the Central Pennsylvania Racetrack Chaplaincy of America (RTCA) Council and…

Saratoga Fire Leaves Track Workers Homeless

Early this morning, a fire broke out on a block of historic rowhouses on Woodlawn Avenue in Saratoga Springs. By mid-morning, the Saratogian and the Daily Gazette were reporting via reporters’ Twitter timelines that while no one had been hurt, the buildings are a total loss and will likely be demolished. As reported in the local paper and…

The Month Behind

November? What November? I’m writing this on Thursday night, and a month ago tonight, I sat in my apartment  as the full force of Sandy hit New York City. That night, we knew it was bad, but not how bad it would be. With an almost guilty sense of good fortune, I can say that beyond…

Donating to those affected by Sandy

Here at the Brooklyn Backstretch, we are grateful that we weathered Sandy with only minor inconvenience: our power stayed on, and there was no flooding in this neighborhood. We feel very, very fortunate. Those nearby were not nearly so lucky. Power is still out in many areas, and homes were devastated by water. According to…

Adopting a backstretch family for Christmas

Over the next few weeks, this space will be filled with holiday spirit: racetrack initiatives offering ways to help; retirement and rescue organizations doing fund-raisers; suggestions for gifts for the racing lover in your life. Last week we kicked off with the annual Belmont Child Care Association holiday party; I spent my Black Friday shopping…

The Saratoga Social Calendar

A week from tomorrow, historic Saratoga Race Course will kick off its 143rd meet. Horses, trainers, jockeys, owners, and fans will descend on the resort town to which summer visitors have flocked since the 19th century. Six racing days a week keep residents and tourists alike busy during the daylight hours, but local and seasonal…

Racing charity check-ins

Last Monday, Hall of Fame trainer John Nerud presented a check for $50,000 to the Belmont Child Care Association. A longtime and loyal donor to Anna House, Nerud visits frequently, sharing the stories of his years on the racetrack with the children. Now 98, he told the children that when he started at the track, he worked as…

Beyond the Backstretch

I wrote recently in the Saratogian about the multitude of charitable opportunities that the racing season in Saratoga offers; nearly every night, we can choose an event to attend, a way to contribute, a charity to support. Among those charities are those that support New York racing all year round, some of which pack up…