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Emails to my Memorial to Roosevelt
Date: Thu, Apr 6, 2000, 9:04am
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.
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
Date: Tue, Apr 11, 2000, 11:54am
forget Jimmy Cruise Sr. (6 wins in one
Note from Jeff Rosen,
webmaster: I just added him,
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.
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
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:
Never had a problem in the 10 years
I miss ole Rosey, but won't forget her.
Post more memories.
A young kid (Luc) trying to sneak into
the paddock to see his uncle (Michel
Giveaway nights: T-shirts, tote bags,
towels, make up mirrors, hats, mugs,
among a few
Driver card promotion (like baseball
- The different betting
windows: $4 & $10 combo, $3, $5, and $10
scramble, triples, exactas & doubles
Wrestling Night - Ric Flair was there to
face the winner of a 20 man free for all
The night David Dunckley was tragically
killed in a spill When a horse (forgot
the name) bolted and broke through the
frontrunners with Loosh off a Phalen
- Working in the Cloud Casino on
New Years Eve
- Jack Lee saying about
the trailing horse "he's enjoying the
fresh Westbury air"
- Soky's Tiger -
the one eyed horse
Dick Thomas - the one eyed driver
Lights Out N - a game horse that used to
run the whole race parked with his head
Momentus - A crazy horse for Rob Rahner
that used to return into the paddock at
- Dins Dancer - Horse that ran with
his head up
- Hanover Knight
My favorite: Best of Jenkins
Getting the best soft serve ice cream in
- The friendly people
and the nuts
Herve the crook
Buddy the gangster
Name the foal promotion
The outside seats at the end of the
- Section 23 - 3rd
All the inside tips that lost....and the
one that won
- Sunday night racing -
it was special
Date: Fri, Apr 14, 2000, 6:29pm
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
Date: Sun, Apr 9, 2000, 3:09pm
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 so.as 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
..by 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
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
Maybe, someday, it will come back ... I
wish I knew when.
Saturday afternoon/night doubleheaders
at RR during the thoroughbred season at
The $1 admission line at Gate C for
Youths 6 to 21 years of age.
Needing to go to the far end of the
third floor granstand to buy and exacta
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.
The special $18 Box Triple line.
Yellow win tickets, pink place tickets,
blue show tickets.
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
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 memories...one 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!
Date: Fri, Jun 16, 2000, 12:17pm (EDT-3)
I enjoyed reading your memorial to RR..you 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!
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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