NYRA Backstretch Celebrates Christmas

Mario Artaza, Consul General of Chile of NY as Santa | NYRTC

Christmas came a few days early for approximately 150 backstretch families at Belmont Park on Tuesday, December 20th when the New York Race Track Chaplaincy hosted its annual Sponsor-A-Family Program. The families received food and gifts, including new winter clothing for children, new toys and gift cards.

Highlighting this year's festivities was the presence of Mario Artaza, the Consul General of Chile in New York, who dressed as Santa Claus. “I'm honored to participate in this year's event and it's heartwarming to see what the horse racing community is doing for these members of the backstretch,” Mr. Artaza said.

Attendees were also treated to a medley of Christmas songs performed by the Elmont Memorial High School Jazz Choir led by Ben Pesenti.

“Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our supporters, we were able to sponsor all of the families who requested assistance,” said Humberto Chavez, the executive director and lead chaplain of the NY Race Track Chaplaincy. “We are especially grateful to the partners of West Point Thoroughbreds, who jointly demonstrated the Christmas spirit in a phenomenal and meaningful way.”

Earlier in the month, the backstretch families also enjoyed a carnival at the Belmont Cafe that was sponsored by Thoroughbred owner Mike Repole.

For more on the NY Race Track Chaplaincy, visit www.rtcany.org.

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