Three Chimneys presents Good News Friday: A Community Effort at the Belmont
For its home of Elmont, N.Y., the Belmont Stakes is more than just the thrilling two and a half minutes that could produce the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years. The Belmont is a week-long celebration of the local community and an opportunity to give back.
The week’s activities kick off Sunday with the first-ever Belmont Stakes Blue Ribbon Run for Prostate Cancer. The 5K event will benefit the locally-based Integrated Medical Foundation, a non-profit that provides education and outreach on prostate cancer and free screenings.
“We’ve been doing a run in the fall, but this year, we decided to expand and do another run, and we were looking for an exciting location,” said IMF executive director Rhonda Samuel. “Everybody at the New York Racing Association and Belmont Park has worked tirelessly on this collaboration as if it were their baby, from the heart.”
Samuel said the timing of the event couldn’t be better, since a U.S. health task force recently recommended against screening for prostate cancer , saying the potential harm outweighs the benefits. Samuel disagrees.
“One out of six men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. Early detection saves lives. It’s just that simple,” said Samuel. “We hope the Belmont Stakes will be a crowning achievement for I’ll Have Another and for the early detection of prostate cancer.”
Organizers are expecting as many as a thousand people to participate in the Blue Ribbon Run, including I’ll Have Another trainer Doug O’Neill and his team. Jockey Ramon Dominguez will serve as the Grand Marshal of the event. Runners will complete the race on the dirt track at Belmont, crossing the finish line where I’ll Have Another will vie for the Triple Crown a week from Saturday.
Click here for more information about the race.
Belmont week events continue Monday with a “Fire and Ice” benefit for the Little Baby Face Foundation, which helps transform the lives of children born with facial deformities through corrective surgery. The event will include a local exhibit of equine art created specifically for the benefit.
Wednesday, June 6, presents another chance to see a unique art exhibition. Hofstra University and the Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T) are collaborating to showcase the artistic talents of backstretch workers and their families. B.E.S.T encourages backstretch employees at Belmont and Aqueduct to use art as a means of relaxation and release after a long day of work at the track.
“There are more than 20 very impressive works of art that will be on display,” said B.E.S.T executive director Paul Ruchames. “They are all done by untrained, unschooled artists with remarkable talent. We deeply appreciate Hofstra’s generosity in hosting this event, bringing the rich contributions of backstretch workers to light.”
The exhibit is free and will be on display for five weeks.
Thursday’s events include the annual jockeys’ visit to the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island.
“They bring goggles with them and wear their silks,” said Joanne Adams, NYRA’s director of community relations. “Children are put on little ponies, and the jockeys walk them around. The kids love it.”
There’s also a “Hat and Author Luncheon” to benefit the Kidney and Urology Foundation of America and the Belmont Stakes Charity Celebration to support the Jockey Club Foundation and B.E.S.T.
Adams said she hopes to create a bigger day of fundraising akin to the events that take place on Kentucky Oaks day at Churchill Downs and Black-Eyed Susan day at Pimlico.
“For us, right now, we have a week of smaller events that build up to the Belmont and engage the community. Certainly, this year, with the all of the excitement of the Triple Crown, there’s so much local support from people wanting to get involved. We’re thankful for all of it.”
For more details on these and other Belmont Stakes week events, click here.
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Thanks to the generosity of Three Chimneys Farm, the sponsor of Good News Friday, a donation of $100 will be made in support of the local efforts mentioned here. Three Chimneys will be donating $100 each and every week we bring you a story of people or organizations making a positive difference in our world.