Yonkers Raceway's million-dollar, stakes-laden Saturday night program shall also include military veterans demonstrating some newly-acquired horsemanship skills.
The veterans, accompanied by trainer Robbie Siegelman, are going to lead the post parades for the first few races on the 12-race card, which features the $567,000 final of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series and the $371,400 final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker.
After their first taste of "catch-driving," the veterans, with the family and friends, are going to make winner's circle presentations before enjoying the remainder of the evening at the races.
Prior to the 7:10 p.m. first post, a half-dozen Yonkers Police Department are going to present colors and perform the national anthem.
The special event is a culmination of efforts by Siegelman, a long-time successful New York-area trainer, HorseAbility of Old Westbury, N.Y., the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and Yonkers Raceway. Siegelman is a volunteer at HorseAbility, a therapeutic center which offers a wide range of equine-related programs to children and adults with special needs.
As part of the HorseAbility For Heroes program, Siegelman teaches military veterans and their families to jog Standardbred horses. Last year, the Standardbred Owners Association of NY, the Yonkers' horsemen's organization, donated a special jog cart to the program that accommodates the disabled.
"I have always felt the importance of giving back to the community, and being able to do that through the sport that I love is a tremendous bonus,” Siegelman said.
"Developing the therapeutic driving program with HorseAbility and working with the veterans has been such a personally rewarding experience. I am grateful to Yonkers Raceway and the SOA of NY for making it possible to honor these men and women, and their families, who have sacrificed a great deal in service of our country.” (Yonkers)