For Opinion, click here for View from the Racetrack Grandstand

Sunday, October 12, 2014


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 11, 2014—Yonkers Raceway Saturday night hosted the sixth annual Fall Harvest Festival, which again spotlighted the thriving relationship between horse racing and agriculture throughout New York State.

All the popular Festival sights, sounds and tastes were there, including live music, pony rides, New York State craft beers, face painting and a pumpkin patch. 

Also on the docket was the Legislators' Challenge, where a dozen of the state's elected officials slugged out in the sulky (or double-seated jog cart, as the case may be).

The three, four-horse divisions were won by…

--State Senator Martin Malave Dilan (D-Brooklyn), driving (with some nominal assistance from Jason Bartlett) Critical Acclaim in 2:13.3;
--Repeat "Challenge" Assembly Member Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport), driving (again, with Bartlett there for some reason), Sarno in 2:13.3;
--State Senator Phil Boyle (R-Bayshore), driving (with Jordan Stratton as his GPS) Show Me Up in a night’s-fastest 2:11.3.

With all due respect to those who left with Legislators' Challenge bragging rights, the biggest winner was breast cancer awareness and research. Yonkers Raceway, in conjunction with the North America Amateur Drivers Association, donated $15,000 to the Susan G. Komen Greater NYC.

"We were excited to be invited and, obviously, overjoyed with the donation," Linda Tantawi, CEO of Komen Greater NYC said. "It's so important to get tested. Seventy percent of women who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease.”

To keep with the theme of the evening, drivers carried pink whips, pink horseshoes were given away and pink blankets—sponsored by a dozen of the Raceway’s leading trainers—were presented to all the winning horses (a salute to trainer Monica Banca for her role as “blanket point person”).   

For more information, please visit