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Jockeys at Annual Visit to Ronald McDonald House

Just days before the Belmont Stakes, a half-dozen jockeys from Belmont Park rode into the hearts of families at The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island (RMH-LI)  as part of the annual Jockey Day event.

Jockeys  in the 142nd running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes, Javier Castellano, Jermaine Bridgmohan, Jean-Luc Samyn, Rajiv Maragh, John Velazquez and Nick Santagata took a detour from the racetrack to mingle with children at McDonald House. Clad in their colorful silks, the riders posed for photographs, assisted with pony rides and distributed gifts of personally autographed riding goggles and hats.

“This is a very exciting event for our resident families,” says RMH-LI Director of Development and Communications Matthew Campo. “Meeting the jockeys is always fun for everyone. We wish them good luck in the race.

Castellano, Maragh and Velazquez had mounts in this year’s Belmont, Castellano was aboard Interactif, Maragh rode Uptowncharlybrown and Velazquez was on Fly Down across the finish line. It must be noted that Velazquez won the 2007 race with the filly Rags to Riches, the first female to win the Belmont in 102 years.

The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island is a ‘home-away-from home’ for families who are caring for seriously ill children undergoing medical treatment in area hospitals. Located in New Hyde Park on the campus of the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York (formerly Schneider Children’s Hospital), the House accommodates families in a warm and supportive environment.