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Jockeys Ride Into Hearts Of Children’s Hospital Families

This year, as in years past, the jockeys from Belmont Park, including Sam the Bugler, visited the families and volunteers at Ronald McDonald House of Long Island (RMH-LI) as part of an annual partnership with the New York Racing Association (NYRA). 


“This is a great event for our children and their families,” said Matt Campo, RMH-LI executive director. “It is a fun day that everyone looks forward to.”


On May 31, a week before the 145th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes, jockeys mingled with children and families staying at RMH-LI, sharing autographed racing goggles and hats. Dressed in their colorful silks, the riders posed for photographs and helped guide horses, Lola and Twister of the New York Equestrian Center, Ltd. of West Hempstead stables, who gave horseback rides around the grounds of RMH-LI. 


“Meeting the jockeys is always an exciting opportunity for our resident families,” said Campo. “We wish the jockeys the best of luck next week.”


This year’s participating jockeys included Javier Castellano, Jose Ortiz, and Irad Ortiz.


 “NYRA is proud to partner with the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island for their annual Jockey visit,” said NYRA Director of Community Relations Joanne K. Adams. “We’re committed to providing support to organizations that have a positive impact on our local communities.”


RMH-LI is the 100th house of over 300 Ronald McDonald House programs worldwide. Located in New Hyde Park on the campus of the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, the house accommodates families in a warm and supportive environment. For 26 years, RMH-LI has been a home-away-from-home for over 18,000 families in the United States and more than 80 countries around the world who are dealing with the pain of having a child undergoing medical treatment at nearby hospitals.  Christy Hinko contributed to this article.