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World-Class Jockeys Ride Into the Hearts of McDonald Families

Last week seven world-class jockeys took a detour from the racetrack to visit families at The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island as a part of the annual Jockey Day event.

Just days before the running of the 141st Belmont Stakes, Amanda Casey, Alan Garcia, Paco Lopez, Edgar Prado, Rudy Rodriguez, Maylan Studart and John Velázquez showed up in their colorful silks, mingled and took photos with children at the House. The jockeys also came bearing gifts, hats and riding goggles, which were autographed for all in attendance.

 “This is a very exciting event for our children and their families,” said executive director Joanne Reda. “Meeting the jockeys is always fun for everyone. We wish them good luck on Saturday and look forward to seeing them again next year.”

Garcia, Prado and Velazquez will be riding in the 1 1/2 mile Belmont Stakes. Garcia will be aboard Charitable Man, second choice in the field of ten 3-year-old horses. Velazquez, who won the 2007 Belmont, will ride Dunkirk; while Prado, a two-time Belmont winner, will ride Mr. Hot Stuff.

The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island is a ‘home-away-from home’ for families who are caring for seriously ill children undergoing medical treatment in area hospitals. Located on the campus of Schneider Children’s Hospital, the House accommodates families in a warm and supportive environment. Since opening in 1986, approximately 13,000 families from the United States and more than 80 countries around the world have been served. Many of the families are from Queens, Suffolk and Nassau Counties, as well as the surrounding metropolitan area.