The harness racing community once again showed robust support for two of the sport's most important charities -- The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and the Standardbred Retirement Foundation -- at a casino-themed fundraiser held Hambletonian eve at The New Meadowlands in East Rutherford.
The Aug. 2 event, with dinner sponsorship from the connections of Atlanta, featured nearly 200 people playing casino games and vying in a poker tournament to win prizes that included an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas sponsored by Roberts Communications and The New Meadowlands.
The silent auction, which was sponsored by Marvin Katz, included Rolling Stones tickets and New York Yankees tickets as well as Prix d'Amerique items, harness racing art and a beautiful bronze of mares and foals. Raffle prize winners won harness racing art, high-tech devices, jewelry, autographed Yankees baseballs, and themed baskets such as vintage Hambletonian items, Italian food and beverages, and of course, Foiled Again. Charles Keller III and Yankeeland Farm sponsored the raffle items.
Approximately $80,000 was raised and will be shared equally by the two organizations after expenses. A buffet dinner and an open bar were provided throughout the evening to go along with blackjack, roulette and a great night of racing.
Arden Homestead Stable sponsored the bar, and Brittany Farms and the American Ideal Syndicate underwrote dessert. Table sponsors included Arch Madness, Cameo Hills Farm, Diamond Creek Farms, Jay Farrar, Ted Gewertz and Claire Chappell in memory of Charles Iannazzo, Hambletonian Society, Max Hempt, Mary Ellen and David McDuffee, Freehold Raceway, Marion Marauder Group, McWicked, Marcus Melander Stable, David Miller, Preferred Equine, Seelster Farms, Southwind Frank, Standardbred Horse Sales, Svanstedt Stable, Sweet Lou and the United States Trotting Association.
Table co-sponsors were Tony Alagna, Jenn Bongiorno, George Brennan, Corey Callahan, Daniel Dube Stable, Dexter Dunn, Yannick Gingras, Erv Miller Stable, Julie and Andy Miller, Brian Sears, Nick Surick Stable, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano and Paula Wellwood.
Raffle and auction items were donated by Murray Brown, Bob Boni/Bluestone Farms, Brian Cashman, Tom Charters, Callie Davies-Gooch, Mary Lou Dondarski, Moira Fanning, John Polvinale, The Hambletonian Society, The New Meadowlands, Standardbred Retirement Foundation and the Harness Racing Museum.
Monetary donations were received from Suzie Dupler-Telle, Sugar Valley Farms and Todd Buter.
The museum is planning a major expansion project, and the Standardbred Retirement Foundation is caring for nearly 400 horses. The money raised on Aug. 2 will be an important first step in achieving goals for both groups. This exceptional level of generosity by so many in the harness racing industry is profoundly appreciated by all those involved with the Museum and the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. A charitable event has been part of the Hambletonian festivities since 1991 and has raised a total of $1.4 million.