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'Hearts Reaching Out' Benefit Set for March 2

Event will be hosted by Tampa Bay Downs division of Race Track Chaplaincy of America.

The Tampa Bay Downs division of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America will hold its 23rd "Hearts Reaching Out" golf tournament, dinner, and charity auction March 2.

A full day of activities begins at 11 a.m. EST with a four-person scramble tournament at East Lake Woodlands Country Club in Oldsmar, Fla., where Tampa Bay Downs is located. Prizes will be awarded to the top three teams.

At 5:30 p.m., dinner will be held at the racetrack under the big tent in the picnic pavilion area. Bids will be accepted for various racing-related memorabilia and gift baskets during a silent auction, with a live auction beginning at 7 p.m.

The cost is $100 for golf, dinner, and the auction, or $20 for dinner and the auction only. Proceeds benefit the Tampa Bay Downs division of the RTCA.

The RTCA's mission statement is described as "dedicated to providing, with excellence, for the spiritual, emotional, physical and social/educational needs of horse racing's workforce." Tampa Bay Downs division chaplain Ruben Columna said: "Each individual I come across has different needs, whether they are spiritual, emotional, or financial. Some are trying to make money to send to their families. We try to give them guidance and help fill their spiritual needs through the word of God."

Other upcoming chaplaincy events include the annual fishing trip on the Queen Fleet out of Clearwater March 23, and the annual Easter party April 2. All of the chaplaincy's activities are interdenominational.

A wide variety of auction items has been provided. New and unique collectibles include a painting by renowned equine artist Tom Chapman of legendary racehorse Seabiscuit; a spiritual painting on barn wood by Natalie Stanley; and eye-catching pieces of horseshoe art designed by Dave Frangos, made from the shoes of horses that have raced at Tampa Bay Downs.

Also set to be auctioned are a Daily Racing Form Formulator, a handicapping tool featuring a wealth of past performance and statistical information; Breeders' Cup souvenirs, including a saddle towel, jacket, and a Lalique crystal globe; Tampa Bay Downs box seats tickets and passes to the Skye Terrace Restaurant; race-day packages from other tracks; memorabilia from the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays, and Tampa Bay Rowdies; and a Grand Hyatt Tampa package that includes brunch for two at Oystercatchers.

For details or to register, contact Kathy in the chaplain's office at 813-854-1313 or division president Sharyn Wasiluk at 813-494-1870.