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Page 2 of Selected Emails to my Memorial to Roosevelt Raceway Site

Date: Thu, Apr 6, 2000, 9:04am
wow, i stumbled across this site! i started my horse career at roosevelt , when i was an 11 year old girl, 1971, working in mike santa maria's stable, he taught me well. i have since gone into thourbreds, now on my own, in ocala, i also work with mckathen brothers, who break bob bafferts babies. in the 70,s, roosevelt offered barn tours for children on sat. morns, i loved horses and my dad worked very close, he would let me go on a tour , just to be around the horses. this turned into a lifelong passion for me. this track has been special to me, my mom even took work at fortunoff,s so i could be at the track! i have a few win photo's i will try to email at a later date.


Date: Thu, Apr 6, 2000, 7:32pm
I remember Nickawampus Leroy.

Terry Sikoryak

Date: Sat, Apr 8, 2000, 9:45am
Thank you!! That was great! Your memories brought back mine and I did almost start to cry!! I almost died when you wrote about Orbachs parking lot! I grew up in Westbury and went to Clarke High school. Your are right what a shame they tore that down. My husband used to own harness racing horses and still trains them for other people. He works at a farm in Jamesport LI. I told him about your site and he is just going to die!!! He too is extrememly upset because he used to race there himself. Thanks alot for the memories!!


                            Date: Sat, Apr 8, 2000, 7:49pm
                                                 It was simply the greatest harness track that ever has or ever will exist .While the Meadowland has become the place to race it will never equal Roosevelt stature in it hay day . I bet the bastards that run Nassau County now wish they had the revenues that Roosevelt would have produced the last 12 years, Run correctly it still would have been a mecca . I will always miss it very much.   
           Date: Sat, Apr 8, 2000, 8:15pm
Was sorry to read about RR being torn down and needless to say I too have many memories. I lived in the back of RR in a gov't project that my Dad managed called Mitchel Gardens. We heard every race almost every night and when the wind was right you felt like you were sitting in the stands. My parents and I would walk up there on the warm evenings and watch the races from the fence. That white starting car was a little girls dream as I was at the time. That is a special part of my life that I will always remember. I am sorry that I do not have pictures of RR but we did not even own a camera at the time but the pictures I have in my mind will last forever. Thanks for listening and I enjoyed viewing your site and the many letters from the people who were connected with that era in time because for me it made the pictures that I have in my mind come alive once again. My parents are both gone now so that time period was very special to me.
A Florida gal now and loving retirement.......Milli
Date: Tue, Apr 11, 2000, 11:54am
You forget Jimmy Cruise Sr. (6 wins in one night).
Note from Jeff Rosen, webmaster: I just added him, thanks!!!
Date: Tue, Apr 11, 2000, 8:14pm
Thanks for the Memorial to Roosevelt Raceway. I grew up on Long Island - later lived in Garden City. Now I live in PA. I remember several of the things you listed. Wish I could contribute more - but you covered all I knew. Except of course, the flea market. Quite a change the last time I was there, over Christmas Holidays to see family. Thanks for the memory. sg
Date: Tue, Apr 11, 2000, 10:28pm
Thanks for keeping alive the memories. There will never be another Roosevelt. The racing there was the greatest. International night was so special when they turned the lights out and post paraded the greatest trotters in the world under the spotlight. You couldn't get a parking space. It still brings chills thinking about it. It goes to show you don't miss something till it's gone. Thanks again for the memories,

The Cruise Family

Date: Wed, Apr 12, 2000, 7:43pm
BRAVO WONDERFUL !!! YOU ACTUALLY BROUGHT TEARS TO MY EYES. Yes I too am sad by the closing. However, Belmont Race Track is still a beauty.


Date: Thu, Apr 13, 2000, 3:35pm
Wow! What a surprise. Great site. I'll pass it along. I worked at Roosevelt, in Security, during it's last 10 years. Here are some of my memories for you all to read: I remember: Never had a problem in the 10 years I miss ole Rosey, but won't forget her. Post more memories.

George Possas

Date: Fri, Apr 14, 2000, 6:29pm (EDT-3)
Great page. Growing up in Bay Terrace, you would think the Yonkers-Roosevelt switch was no big deal because Bay Terrace is equi-distant between the two. But untrue. Roosevelt was the greatest Sports home we had. Since becoming an adult, I have had the opportunity to get in the Bike. My fiancee's brother boards and trains Standard breds in Freehold. Once a year I go to the farm as an escape (I live in San Francsico). As I go around the track, I fantasize being in a Mickey Rodney-Savior duel, etc. When I first met my girlfriend in California, she mentioned her brother drives Harness horses. The first thing I said to her was, "your last name wouldn't happen to be Abbatello is it?" It wasn't, but 9 years later we are still getting married.


Date: Fri, Apr 14, 2000, 10:46pm
My father helped with the rebuilding of RR back in the early 50's.  I didn't realize when it was.  I must have been 2 or 3 years old, but I remember sitting in my father's lap in a crane.  He showed me a red small house put up on stilts so that the judges or whomever could see the race!  Don't know what it was!  Gwen
Date: Sun, Apr 9, 2000, 3:09pm
Hi Jeff,
  The housing project called Mitchell Gardens was down from Mitchell Field and was a gov't project with mostly families that were in or past military and there was also a   project called Santini which was several miles in another direction.  I cannot give you an exact year but know it was in the 40's after the second world ward.  We moved further north to Farmingdale in 49 and it was still there.  I remember going back in the 90's to a flea market at Roosevelt and a Parkway was now in that location so all the homes were gone.  When I said in back of maybe your in back of is different as to what I am thinking but I remember cars going in back of the house to get to the field and also when the races were over.  The grandstands and the entrance way were the first thing you would see when you walked there and to the right is where my parents and I would watch, from the outside of the fence the take off.  How long ago that was.  I will always remember also the Polo Fields that were in the general vicinity were we would go also to see how the other half lived. Always on the outside looking in. What fun for a little girl!  Hopes this helps somewhat.
Date: Tue, Apr 18, 2000, 1:11pm
jeffery-you dont know me but i amor was a student atwestbury high..class of 1950-about roosevelt raceway,in 1941 i lived at mitchel gardens,that was just iutside of mitchel field-my father was in the army air corp.we had no a.c. in the housae at that time and during the summer everyone slept with their windows open.i could hear the loud speakers from the raceway and i always thought stanley dancer was a horse-all i ever heard was stanley dancer wins the first race-stanley dancer wins the sceond race and so on and a kid ithought WHAT A HORSE-THE PARKWAY WAS NOT THERE YET -roosevelt air field was a busy little air port--on the old country side of the race track were the garaages for the racing cars that once raced at the track before the horses-i could go on and on the way my first name is JACK
Date: Fri, Apr 21, 2000, 4:59pm

  Quite by accident, I happened to come across your Roosevelt Raceway site and actually almost shed a tear of joy that I am not the only one left on Long Island who gave a damn that this place was unceremoniously closed and worse yet, ripped down two months back.  I still have dozens of the Doc Robins programs saved away together with the batting helmets, tote bags, now paint stained t-shirts, and host of International Trot commemorative glasses. 
  Just as Roosevelt was about to be torn down, I exchanged e-mails with Stan Bergstein from Harness Tracks of America.  We talked about the memories of the races and the like including his days broadcasting from the Cloud Casino.  I was so hoping that HTA would find a way to save Roosevelt but like all businesses, you either change with the times or die.  To this day, I still laugh that Yonkers has outlived Roosevelt --- for that matter that any part of Yonkers is still standing.  I think the best irony of the situation is that the Yonkers grandstand was ripped down the same year as Roosevelt's --- a fitting tribute to the demise of big time New York Harness Racing.
  I've hoped that Suffolk Meadows, the quarter horse facility that was used from single seasons in 1977 and 1986 could be a savoir spot for local racing, but having investigated this option two years back , I realized that the track has been thoroughly destroyed with only the grandstand carcass really remaining.  At least $10-$15 million dollars of work would be needed to rebuild that facility.
  So, that brings me to the point of my note to you ... some other things I remember about Roosevelt that you might want to add to your memory list some day :

  1.   Saturday afternoon/night doubleheaders at RR during the thoroughbred season at Saratoga.
  2. The $1 admission line at Gate C for Youths 6 to 21 years of age.
  3. Needing to go to the far end of the third floor granstand to buy and exacta ticket.
  4. Exactas when they were only available on every other race ... and you would line up during wagering on the PREVIOUS race to start buying tickets.
  5. The special $18 Box Triple line.
  6. Yellow win tickets, pink place tickets, blue show tickets.
Maybe, someday, it will come back ... I wish I knew when.

  Thanks ... Scott

April 25, 2000
Jeff-I LOVED your Roosevelt Raceway site-I just told my hubby to check it out-My dad misses Roosevelt VERY much-he hangs at OTB now-not the same-he has resorted to horse racing as opposed to harness..He (my dad) used to call me in sick at school to take me to Roosevelt-of course being a girl-i picked names when my dad sat for hours with that racing form-My hubby, who grew up in Queens also LOVES horse racing-he's a flats guy-never too fond of harness racing-ahhhh i loved it when i was a kid...Michele 
Date: Tue, May 2, 2000, 4:31pm
Well I guess I could add some info to your website.
I had never been to Roosevelt Raceway while the plant was operating, but i could say I was the last to leave. (The lights were already out.) If anyone saw it empty, they would truely understand the cavernous size. A scale unequalled ANYWHERE.
The building stood very calm, awaiting that moment time would bring it down. The roof leaked gently onto the betting floor.
  On a cold winter's night I could skate on the sheet of ice inside the stand.
The elevators, rusted still, only echoed the faint sounds of people coming and going.
Harry Steven's kitchens were stopped abruptly. From the outer stands things appeared ready to go! Inside; all was lost.
There was no way to save the Roosevelt Raceway. Even upon it's closing, it's operating expense far exceeded it's income.
But I think what makes people sad is that this would be the first time in the history of Roosevelt Field something extraordinary was demolished to make way for nothing special.
The Plant at Roosevelt Raceway was a work of art. We will never see anything it's equal again. We have George Morton Levy to thank for the pleasure of our memories. When George died, the heart and soul of the raceway also died. That was the TRUE demise of old Roosevelt Raceway.
Date: May 31, 2000
GREAT PAGE! Try and keep it alive with updates and contributions from everyone that visits this url... I moved to East Meadow in 1957 from Hempstead and lived on Second Street between Franklin and Prospect, share a lot of the same feelings you have, only yours are a little more intense as I moved to Florida in 1983...'68 graduate of EMHS and still keep my $2 mutual ticket from RR in the china closet, glance at it from time to time and try and rekindle the night, I was supposed to be in class at Nassau CC, but cut school to make the double at Roosevelt, my parents were keeping track of my comings and goings and knew I gambled...I parked my car, and rushing to make a bet, forgot to look at the sign post for my section...wanting to keep regular hours, I left the track at the same time I would be leaving school, only to find, to my complete and abject horror, the 30 minute snow shower turned every vehicle in the lot WHITE...had to wait two hours to find my white '70 Chevy Vega!
Kevin Kelleher
Date: Fri, Jun 16, 2000, 12:17pm (EDT-3)
I enjoyed reading your memorial to included "left hand whipping" Joe Faraldo and "stormin" Norman Dauplaise but forgot....Jack Richardson; Mike Santa Maria; William Hudson; Hugh Bell; Robert Shuttleworth and Robert Cherrix. Also, the bar "Riddles" across the street from the track. Was OT the Zeckendorf Blvd. Exit?
I've been in San Diego for eight years. You brought back a lot of memories with your article, good job!
Kevin Barrett
Date: Mon, Jun 5, 2000, 10:57pm
Do you remember the Fair being held there every year? I used to love watching the rodeo they put on and going to the fair. What a shame that they took that piece of Long Island's history away.
Date: Wed, Jun 21, 2000, 11:15pm
This was a great site. I was only 17 when Roosevelt closed down but I have great memories of going with my Father and sneaking in with my freinds. I live in Westbury and I cant tell you how bad my town as gone since the close of the Track. It was a great place to go and its an absolute disgrace that political leaders of Nassau County aloud it to be closed down.


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