During the more than 20 years that Leroy Clement worked for the New York Racing Association, his family didn’t get to spend a lot of time with him in the summer, when his security job moved from the New York metropolitan area to Saratoga Springs. His wife Sonia worked as a nurse in New York City, and it didn’t make sense for his children to go upstate when Clement would be working six days a week.
But Saturday, they traveled from far and wide to honor Clement’s memory, nearly eight months after Clement died, with a race named “Patrolman Leroy Clement.”
Leroy’s sister Veronica and Sonia came from Brooklyn. His son Ronaldo came from Houston. His grandson Miles and wife Brittany came from Colorado, to see Clement honored at the place where he was something of a seasonal, local celebrity.
While Clement worked various posts at the different NYRA tracks — Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park, and Aqueduct Racetrack — he had become a fixture at the entrance to the paddock at Saratoga. Paddock entry rules are few — no shorts, no drinks, no entry without a pass — but when you’ve got dozens of people streaming past you, some oblivious to those rules, some deliberately flouting them, you need a sharp eye, a firm tone, and a friendly demeanor. Clement had it all.
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