Racing for the Children: Wednesday, August 26th. Good for them. Good for You–Your Soul, That Is.
Today I found myself watching Frankie Rodriguez and several other grooms, hotwalkers, assistants–and I thought about what back-breaking work it is, to tend to the needs of horses. Any horse, anywhere, needs tender, loving care. Race horses, all the moreso.
From gently wrapping legs to bathing, combing, feeding, watering, trotting for inspection and bathing–race horses require an extraordinary amount of physical, emotional and spiritual commitment.
And in case you think otherwise: no one in their right mind would sign up to care for a horse unless her/his entire heart was committed to the job. There’s too much responsibility–too much risk–too much bone-wearing labor involved. No one gets up to be at work for 4:30AM unless they’re married to the job and to the gentle creatures in their care.
Well, here’s another piece of news for you: these same people–the Frankies, Kellies, Lauras, Pacos, Juans–they all have lives outside of the shedrow. When all that hard work is done at the end of the day–these people have families, children, spouses and love waiting for them.
And they have needs. Their families have needs. One of those needs is daycare, and early-childhood education. Good education. Solid, academically-challenging education. Just as the proper care of a foal on a farm is essential to the physical and emotional growth of that foal into a strapping, 1,200-pound Thoroughbred–the children of backstretch workers need a solid foundation, as well. A rock-solid start that will see them through elementary, high school and college. And yes, to careers in horse racing, if that’s where their destinies and hearts lead them.
Enter Anna House, and the Belmont Child Care Association. In the days following the insanity of the Travers Stakes this Saturday, I’m going to write a thorough report on the BCCA, Anna House and the scores of beautiful, intelligent, creative little souls whom they educate, nurture and bless every year. I’ll tell you facts and figures about their school programs–about the visits to musea, and musical shows. I’ll remind you again of their hard-working parents, who would give the world if they could, to assure that their children get that Best Foundation, Ever. And fortunately, the BCCA has scholarships and programs so that no child is turned away from that Best Foundation, Ever.
Whence cometh the funding for said scholarships? For these wonderful programs, that grow little minds and turn them into minds ready to face the world outside the gates of Belmont Park? Why, those funds come yes, from grants. But they also come from race fans–horse owners, trainers, jockeys–folks like you and me.
This Wednesday, you have the extraordinary opportunity to share of your own blessings, by attending Racing for the Children, the Belmont Child Care Association / Anna House annual Dinner and Auction in Saratoga. The gala event this year will be held in the elegent and historic Hall of Springs in Saratoga Spa State Park on August 26th.
Beginning with cocktails and silent auction at 6PM on the fantabulous Verandah of the Hall of Springs, moving into dinner and live auction, the event will honor the wonderful works of great love of JoAnn and Paul Oreffice, two of horse racing’s most beloved and generous souls. None other than rock star Trainer, Todd Pletcher, will serve as Auctioneer, and Whoa, Nelly–what amazing things he’ll have to auction to the luckiest bidders! Check out this abbreviated list of goodies. I want them all, don’t you? (Please, oh, please, someone acquire that halter for me!)
Yes, you’re reading that correctly: that’s a box for THIS year’s Travers–you know, the one for which there are no tickets available? Well, if you’re the highest bidder, you can be living large at the Travers, to see American Pharoah, Texas Red and Frosted duke it out. And–what’s that I see? A halter worn by our ruling Triple Crown King, himself? Yes, indeed. All you have to do in order to bring these treasures home with you is attend the party, and be the winning bidder. 🙂
The Best News of All: It’s not too late to reserve your ticket(s) for the party. All you have to do is call Joanne K. Adams, Executive Director of the Belmont Child Care Association: (516) 924-2499. Read this–run, don’t walk–to your phone–and call Joanne, right now to purchase your tickets to the coolest party of the Saratoga meet. (For those of you who want to know, 3/5 of the cost of your ticket will be tax deductible when you do your taxes next year.) 🙂
Racing for the Children, on Wednesday eve: Good for everyone, all-around:
* Good–for the children of BCCA.
* Good for their parents.
* Good for you and your dates/friends.
* Good for the people you choose to take with you to the Travers on Saturday, after you’ve bid the best on that Travers package.
* And ultimately, cosmically-enough, good for the horses, in the end. Because parents can concentrate on their work and stay focused when they’re not worried about their children–when they know that they’re in the Best Possible Hands. So the children get an extraordinary start in Life–their parents get to breathe easily–the horses get the full attention and love of their caregivers.
Everyone scores–including you, when you do your End Zone Dance after you’ve won the Travers gig. Go for it: you know you want it.
Joanne K. Adams: (516) 924-2499
Call. Now. Or listen to the guy who gets American Pharoah’s halter brag about it for the next 37 years.