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Jockeys Visit Ronald McDonald House Prior To Stakes

Jockeys help to cheer up kids

The jockeys from Belmont Racetrack always visit Ronald McDonald House just before the Belmont Stakes and this year was no different.

This year at McDonald House it was, however, a little different because they had a huge popcorn machine and lots of drinks for the jockeys and the kids, which was most appreciated.

As in the past, Steppin’ Out Ponies donated two of their ponies to give rides to the kids, and that was a big attraction. The ponies were all decked out in their best finery for the event adding to the festive mood.

A huge attraction was bugler Sam Grossman who signals the start of the race with his rendition of “Call To The Post.”  However, at McDonald House he entertained by having all the Girl Scouts from Troop No. 3471 of Levittown sing “God Bless America” and other tunes, while he accompanied them.

Further, a busload of students from the Herricks Middle School arrived to join in the festivities.

Everyone had a marvelous time as the jockeys autographed and handed out goggles all the kids present.

The most fun was the fact that the jockey who was to “I’ll Have Another,” Mario Gutierrez, was there and he was very much in demand for both pictures and interviews and he was so gracious and accommodating. Unfortunately his horse was taken out of the race due to a leg injury.

One funny note, this year the jockeys arrived in stretch limos, provided by New York State Racing Association (NYRA). In the past they came in a van prompting someone to comment, “Well, if we don’t have a Triple Crown this year, guess we’ll be back in vans.”