Alex's Lemonade Stand Effort Gains Racetrack Support

By Esther Marr
The question "What's in a name?" may have first been pondered by William Shakespeare, but Chuck Zacney, a partner in the Philadelphia-area Cash is King Stable, must have wondered the same thing when he first read the story of Alexandra "Alex" Scott.

To Zacney, it seemed like more than just a coincidence the 9-year-old victim of the juvenile cancer neuroblastoma partially bore the name of Afleet Alex, the Preakness (gr. I)-winning horse he owns with Cash is King partners. Afleet Alex, originally named after Zacney's son and two of the other partners' children, was bred by John Silvertand, who also is battling cancer.

Zacney and partners were touched by the impact of Scott's original front-yard lemonade stand she created to raise funds for the research of her illness, and the courage she displayed throughout her short life, which ended last August. They began donating a portion of Afleet Alex's earnings to the child's cancer cause, as well as promoting the support of more stands.

When Scott's cause became connected with the racetrack, lemonade sales began to soar. They brought in $11,000 at the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and $18,000 on Preakness day. The charity's profits are expected to skyrocket at the June 11 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), when more than 38 track supporters host lemonade stands from coast to coast. They could make Scott's $5-million goal for 2005 a reality.

When Afleet Alex's publicists contacted Corey Johnsen, president of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, to request his involvement with promoting the lemonade stand charity, he said it seemed like a natural fit. Over the past few weeks, Tony DeMarco, service bureau director for the TRA, has publicized the cause to TRA board members and directors across the country in the hope of materializing the goal of Afleet Alex's trainer Tim Ritchey for every track to have lemonade stands Belmont day.

After working through an extensive contact list, DeMarco said nearly all TRA members have agreed to either host a stand or make a direct contribution in Alex's memory in conjunction with the last leg of the Triple Crown. Only a few tracks declined the proposal due to size or too low of an attendance to make substantial donations.

"Having a charity come onto a track is an interesting thing, and the lemonade stands came at a good time," DeMarco said in reference to the widely publicized Triple Crown races. "This is a significant, worthwhile cause."

Though racetracks across the country are known for their various charitable contributions each year, it's uncommon to have a charity come to them in tangible form. "Whether you're giving $1 or $1,000, this is a grassroots effort one cup at a time," DeMarco said.

Charles Fazzino, the official Belmont Stakes artist, has donated 2,000 posters depicting horses with an Alex's Lemonade Stand in the foreground. The posters will be on sale at 22 participating tracks in the U.S. for at least a $10 donation.

The following is a partial (because tracks are continuing to be added) list of tracks that will have lemonade stands on Belmont day:

Eastern region: Belmont, Pimlico Race Course, Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack, Charles Town Races & Slots, Suffolk Downs, Delaware Park, Philadelphia Park, Penn National Race Course, Meadowlands, Monticello Raceway, and Monmouth Park.

Midwest: Churchill Downs, Canterbury Park, Prairie Meadows, Arlington Park, Hawthorne Race Course, Keeneland, Thistledown, Fonner Park, Beulah Park, Great Lakes Downs, River Downs, and Turfway Park.

Southern region: Calder Race Course, Oaklawn Park, Fair Grounds, Remington Park, Lone Star Park, and Sam Houston Race Park.

West Coast: Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields, Hollywood Park, Santa Anita Park, Emerald Downs, Del Mar, and Portland Meadows.

Canada: Woodbine.

Harrah's Louisiana Downs will participate by making a donation to the charity in lieu of hosting a lemonade stand. El Commandante Racetrack in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, will host a lemonade stand June 26, the day of the San Juan Classic, the last leg of the island nation's Triple Crown.

Sam Houston will also host a silent auction on eBay June 11. The auction will offer sports merchandise, including a framed photograph of Afleet Alex. Interested bidders may visit eBay Giving Works Listings by Nonprofit and search for Texas Children's Cancer Center.

In addition, AmericaTab, an online wagering company, will host an Internet lemonade stand June 8-11. Customers can donate to the cause by clicking on the site's Alex's Lemonade Stand logo.

Updated List of Alex's Lemonade Stand Locations on Belmont Day