backstretch workers

Woodbine Entertainment Gives Back to Backstretch Community

Woodbine Entertainment has announced a trio of initiatives designed to support the 130 people living on the backstretch at Woodbine Racetrack during the winter months. Woodbine has partnered with the Horses First Fund, which will sponsor a nutritious, hot meal each week. The program will start Wednesday, Dec. 23. The Horses First Fund assists Thoroughbreds and their caretakers in need of emergency aid due to large scale neglect, natural disaster, or other catastrophes. Horses First Fund founder Jaime Roth of LNJ Foxwoods said, "I was especially moved by the misfortune...

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Pies Donated to MJC Backstretch Workers and Food Bank

For the past 32 years, the Maryland Jockey Club has had a tradition of handing out free pies to its patrons during its Thanksgiving Day program. Along with live Thoroughbred racing at Laurel Park, fans would arrive in the morning to free cider, coffee and donuts, and leave with an apple or pumpkin pie. This year, with no fans in attendance for Thursday's live program, the Maryland Jockey Club didn't want to stop the tradition of giving away pies. So 1,500 pies were ordered as usual, with 500 going to...

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Keeneland and TCA Team on Sales Initiative to Help Essential Workers

Keeneland and Thoroughbred Charities of America have launched an initiative to provide September Yearling and November Breeding Stock Sales buyers the opportunity to make a voluntary contribution to TCA to assist our industry's backstretch and farm workers. The voluntary donation will be included in the buyers invoice and equate to .05% of the hammer price of their purchase. "This partnership with TCA reflects Keeneland's mission to support worthy causes, and during this time of great need it's even more important that we take care of our front-line heroes," Keeneland President...

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TVG to Share Pacific Classic Spotlight With CARMA, Donate 5,000 Facemasks to Backstretch Workers

Celebrating its 10th year as the title sponsor of the GI TVG Pacific Classic, TVG will shine this weekend's spotlight on one of the country's leading Thoroughbred aftercare organizations, California Retirement Management Account (CARMA), and will donate more than 5,000 face coverings to backstretch communities at its partner tracks in California, New Jersey, Kentucky and other states beginning this week, TVG announced Thursday. "As part of celebrating our 10th year as the title sponsor of the TVG Pacific Classic, we wanted to reaffirm our support of CARMA and the tremendous...

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State Department Releases H-2B Guidance, Providing Opportunity for Trainers

The State Department released guidance for the Presidential Proclamations from June 22 (P.P. 10014 & 10052) that temporarily suspended issuance of new non-immigrant visas, such as the H-2B visa used by horse trainers. The guidance provides exceptions to the suspension and gives trainers the opportunity to secure more H-2B workers if at least two of the following three indicators are present: The applicant was previously employed and trained by the petitioning U.S. employer. The applicant is traveling based on a temporary labor certification (TLC) that reflects continued need for the...

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McIngvale, Dunkin' Make 'Runhappy' Donations to B.E.S.T.

James "Mattress Mack" McIngvale, owner of champion sprinter Runhappy, donated 30 dozen "Runhappy donuts" to the Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T) in advance of Saturday's Runhappy GI Travers S. at Saratoga. Dunkin' also contributed 750 gift cards to the backstretch community Thursday. Last season, McIngvale distributed treats to fans waiting in line in the early morning hours on Travers Day. The Runhappy Travers will be carried live on FOX as part of a special 90-minute broadcast beginning at 5 p.m. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit www.NYRA.com/SaratogaLive.

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Pandemic Affects Visas, Limiting H-2B Workers

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- George Weaver feels it. So do Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher and Shug McGaughey. Among the many new issues that Thoroughbred trainers across the country must contend with during the 2020 pandemic is a shortage of skilled staff. In recent years, it has become more difficult for horsemen to secure all the H-2B visas that they desire to legally bring foreign nationals into the country as guest workers. The arrival of COVID-19 in late winter closed U.S. consulates, compounding the problems, preventing visa holders from getting their...

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Backside Learning Center Launches 'Purses for a Purpose' Program

The Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs is launching "Purses for a Purpose", a program to allow horse owners to pledge a portion of their horse's earnings to benefit backside workers and their families. "The backstretch community is a hugely important part of our sport, and we're more than happy to support it in any way we can," Brian DiDonato of Franklin Ave. Equine LLC, owner of Moonshine Dancing (Speightster) and Too Much Kandy (Kantharos), the first two horses to participate in Purses for a Purpose, said of his motivation...

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NY Race Track Chaplaincy Campaign A Necessary Success

When the New York Racing Association announced Mar. 25 that racing would be suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps no lives were affected as much as those of the New York backstretch workers. The New York Race Track Chaplaincy, which has been dedicated to supporting and ministering to the needs of this community for over 30 years, jumped into action. They began a campaign to help the 3,500 people who were suddenly without their normal wage deal with the challenges that resulted from the pandemic, asking for help in...

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Woodbine Instates Mask Mandate On Its Backstretch

Effective Wednesday, May 13, all restricted personnel accessing Woodbine's backstretch will be mandated to wear a mask or face covering as a further precautionary measure against COVID-19, Woodbine Entertainment announced Monday. The only exception to wearing a mask or face covering will be when a rider is actively breezing or actively galloping a horse, otherwise face masks must always be on and covering the nose and mouth. Jockeys will be permitted to access the Woodbine backstretch to breeze horses under strict physical distancing protocols beginning Wednesday as well.

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United Way Donating Over $30K in Gift Cards to Belmont Backstretch Workers

Backstretch workers at Belmont Park will soon receive some relief in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in the form of $50 gift cards donated by United Way of Long Island. The cards, which total more than $30,000 in value, will be distributed to all backstretch workers by members of the Backstretch Employee Service Team of New York (B.E.S.T.) and the Belmont Child Care Association (BCCA). This gift expands a program that kicked off earlier this month in which backstretch workers completing quarantine received gift cards, courtesy of United Way...

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TDN Writers Room for April 22, With Joe Appelbaum

In this week's TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland, NYTHA president Joe Appelbaum joined the crew as the Green Group Guest of the Week to talk about when we can expect to see racing again in New York, the efforts to help Belmont backstretch workers, his personal betting strategies and much more.

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