Harlem isn't anywhere near Belmont Park, but musicians from the Harlem Jazz Festival are one of the new additions to this year's New York Showcase Day Oct. 19.
"We're trying to make it a really big day of racing," said Dennis Brida, executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders. "What's making it successful this year is all the parties are working together, and we're bringing some new things to the table."
Brida's organization has joined forces with Thoroughbred owners, the I Love New York and Pride of New York campaigns, and the Farm Bureau, to try and bring as many people as possible to the track that day. Of course, the $1 million offered in purses for the seven stakes for New York-breds features prominently in the schedule, but before, after, and in between races, patrons can visit as many as 100 booths featuring New York-made products, Thoroughbred rescue organizations, and New York breeding farms.
New York City firefighters and police officers, all Farm Bureau members, and Nassau County government employees will receive free admission to the track, and any owner or trainer who has raced a horse in New York this year will be treated to free lunch in the Marquee tent. The following day, fan appreciation day, admission is free for everyone.
There will be a special area just for kids (including pony rides, puppet shows, and a pumpkin-decorating contest), a John Deere display of 30 antique tractors and giveaways, a performance by the Islip Drill Team on horseback, and autograph signings by retired New York-based jockeys.
"What's making it successful this year is all the parties are working together," said Ed Lewi who is directing the Showcase Day. "We try to make it an entire family day."
Popular New York-based racehorses Boom Towner, Fourstardave, and Thunder Regent will be on hand on Showcase Day.