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Selected Emails for The Memorial to Roosevelt Raceway Page 5

Page 5 of Selected Emails

Also read what people wrote in my Roosevelt Raceway guestbook by clicking HERE

Date: Wed, Apr 4, 2001, 11:51pm
I like your site on the †Roosevelt Raceway †I have lot of memories attachted † to that place , as my father worked there as a groom taking care of †the horses. I used to spend every Sunday at the track with my father before he passed away in the 70s . Nonetheless i was very saddened to hear of the domolishion of this great landmark. I was wondering if this site offfered any pictures or screensavers i could download. also do you a list of all the former employees of Roosevelt? would to perhaps, contact some of my father's co-workers or even to see my own dad's name listed?
†Thank you

Date: Fri, Apr 20, 2001, 4:52pm (EDT-3)
Hey Jeff,
Thanks for waking up the past, I grew up off Salisbury park drive, the lights will never go away in my mind. My wife asked me what was one of my biggest nights, I told her Carmine Abbatiello night at Roosevelt Raceway, my buddy fought off about 10 guys to get the whip that Carmine threw into the stands, some guy really got his hands burned. He still has it framed with the picture that they gave out.( My wife thinks I'm nuts, I guess she just don't understand) I'm now 37 years old living in San Diego, Del Mar is ok but it's no Belmont Park if you know what I mean. My father in law is a retired NYC cop and was with the special units. My buddy used to go into the winners circle when nobody would show, like he was the owner. I guess that's what made it fun. This same guy would say he was tapped after the 3rd race and we would all tighten en up, until we saw him going upstairs and followed him, would you know he had a bunch of twenties stashed in his sock. It caught up with him later on when he was short $2 for the last race triple and nobody lent him the $$, would you believe his triple that he wanted to pay came in and paid $2.600+, that was a lot of money for a 16 year old kid at the time.
I will never forget the legendary calls by Jack Lee, † " OH DEAR",CAN SEE EM ALL" , or when " IDEAL DU GE ZOň" won the international trot. " This Bud's for you " I talked to my friend Mark Gilmour the other day up in Woodbine, you'll probably remember a horse by the name of Millers Scout, he's up there doing we'll, he could probably still beat some of those horses they got running at Yonkers.
Remember, 1 for a quarter 5 for a dollar, don't forget the kids at home - blow your brains out., that guys probably dead by now. I never could figure out why they let so money people wait for the 8th & 9th outside when they could have let them in earlier to bet their money. I'll tell you one thing, I would have rather been the one waiting than the person coming out, they still would never give up that program, I guess they wanted to go over their mistakes.
Hey, listen I got to go there at the post for Hollywood's 1st race, keep in touch.
Date: Thu, May 17, 2001, 10:40pm
jeff, i just checked out ur roosevelt page...i was born in 63, lived on long island and i loved going to roosevelt...wanna hear a story, i was so desperate to go to roosevelt one night...i was going about 80 miles an hour on southern state pkwy left lane, all of sudden i hear a big bang....i payed no attention...when i got to track i noticed my back bumper on my pinto wagon was missing...yup, had to still make bet, lost, and proceeded w/o a licence plate on car and found bumper on southern state pkwy sitting on middle that sick or what, i could have killed someone just to make a bet a good ole rossy........i remember jack lee announcing and hear comes "bobbooooooooooooooo", remember that trotter w/ yellow ear miffs ole days....i now live in michigan, long story....i sure miss rosevelt and belmont.....i bet belmont at similcast out here...........once a gambler, always a gambler...i love ur music on webpage...definitely brought back memories...remember good ole herve filion "that big stiff".................they set up many races and i believe there still doing it....cant trust those harness horses..............well i like monarchos to win triple crown........good luck on saturday......keep in touch.........old long islander,
Date: Sat, May 19, 2001, 10:48pm
Just thought it be interesting to let you know a bit of harness racing trivia. The first horse I ever owned was the winner of the last race to be raced at Roosevelt Raceway. His name was Majestic Andrew. He was a tough horse who loved to win,He had a short stud career in upstate New York and since has passed on. That night was a happy one since he won, but was a sad one because he symblolized the best part of racing being taken away from us.. At this point i can only hope the greed of the owners who profited from this nassau county ripoff of tax payers will be one day judged if not by the courts but by the almighty.
God bless all who made roosevelt so much fun!
Date: Fri, May 25, 2001, 2:32pm
hi jeff,
great site i too grew up at rr in the late 60's and early 70's. went about 3times a week if i could afford it. do you know if they have videos from back then and where i could get them.
† † bob
Date: Sun, Jun 3, 2001, 1:55pm (EDT-3)
Subject: Great Site on Roosevelt Raceway!
I really enjoyed it! ===== Professor Stephen C. Solosky
Date: Mon, Jun 4, 2001, 5:15pm
Subject: Roosevelt Raceway
If I had the chance to go back in time and do one thing it would be to spend one more week at R.R.I got together with my brother and some friends the other night and we relivedall our most precious memories.Asking each other trivia,naming horses.and the characters that were there every night.It was so vivid,I actually felt we had just come from the track.I hope those s.o.b"s who tore apart so many lives and careers never rest peacefully now or in the future when they are gone.....J.T.
Date: Tue, Jun 12, 2001, 9:44am
† Just stumbled across your website and oh what memories it brought back. †

My family's fist pacer, back in the '60's, was named Irish Moppet. Every year, right before St. Patrick's Day, the Daily News photographer used to come by the stall, put a green derby with cutouts for ears on her head, and put her photo in the paper. †

Later, I became a sportswriter and harness racing was one of my beats. I sat in the press box with legends, watching their endless pinochle games. Doc Robins. Mike Lee, Jack's father and editor of the Long Island Press. Ed Binnewig of Newsday. Lenny Cohen of the Post. Lou "The Jinx" Effrat of the Times. Gerry Mastellone. Stan Bergstein. And of course, the unique John Ratzi ("Mischa Goss") of Sports Eye (I have a great story about him). I also recall with findness the great Roosevelt PR men, such as Joey Goldstein and Clyde Hirt, who died earlier this year and whose funeral I attended. I never missed an International Trot or the Messenger Stakes. I was there one year when Joe Goldstein staged a pigeon race from Messenger's grave to Roosevelt using homing pigeons as the way to draw post positions for the Messenger States. Each pigeon had a horse's name attached to its leg. The one who arrived at the track first got the rail, the second pigeon number two and so on. †

When I got married in '69, Joe Goldstein wanted to turn it into a publicity event. We came very close to holding the wedding in the Cloud Casino and my wife to be and I, as well as the entire wedding party, were going to be driven in jog carts down the stretch. We wound up not doing it and I've regretted it ever since. †
Later, when I moved to Hempstead, Bennie Webster moved into the house house across the street, having just come down from Buffalo or Batavia in upstate New York. One morning Bennie let me go a training mile in a jog cart behind one of his horses (my first time). After the mile, during which I felt I had gone 100 miles an hour, I apologized profusely for going too fast. I thought I had†broken the track record. Bennie laughed and said he timed me in 2:40! Seemed a hell of a lot faster. †

One night the entire press box got a tip on†the 4 horse. He went to post at 4-1. Mike Lee, usually a $5 bettor, bet $200 to win. Just as the race went off, Lou Effrat of the Times, a notorious jinx, charged into the press box and asked if we had gotten the tip on the 4. Mike asked Lou if Lou had bet him. At this point the horses had reached the quarter and the 4 was leading by 2 lengths. When Lou said he had, Mike stood up and tore up his $200 in tickets. I said "Are you crazy? You just tore up $1,000!" Mike laughed and said that if Louie bet on the horse the horse was doomed. The horse led by two into the deep stretch. Of course, he went on a†break near the wire and came third. Mike knew.
Ultimately, I became a standardbred owner and breeder myself. My best horse was a homebred named Wyatt's Torch who took a mark of 1.53.3 on a 5/8ths track and went on to stand stud in western Canada. Donnie Dancer drove for me. I've lived in Westbury or 23 years. I bought my house there specifically to be near Roosevelt Raceway. †

I was stabled there when the new owners (Al D'Amato's henchmen) took it over and ran the track into the ground. We subsequently raced at Meadowlands and Freehold but it was never the same. †
Thanks for the memories. †
Steve Ende

Date: Fri, Jun 22, 2001, 9:45pm
Subject: From Roosevelt to dreams come true.....
My uncle had come across your web site recently and told me to look it up. I basically grew up at Roosevelt Raceway. I spent my weekends off from school and summers there. I spent my nights with family in the Cloud Casino and the winner's circle. I grew up knowing all the great trainers and drivers, the Dancer's, Billy Haughton & sons, etc... My uncle was one of the BEST driver/trainer's there for years, now at the Meadowlands. My dream was to become one of them, every night racing under the lights in front of the fans. Those were the good old days. It brings back fond childhood memories that will die with me. Roosevelt gave me my dreams and the perseverance to follow them. I am a trainer and owner now in New Jersey, and currently working on my driver's license. Thanks for the walk back in time.
Jill Guiteras
Date: Tue, Jul 10, 2001, 9:01am
Thank you so much I just enjoyed reading your web on Roosevelt. I as a young girl would go from Brooklyn to Roosevelt raceway be bus. Reading the drivers list that you gave brought back so many memories. I use to bet Del Insko all the time, won on long shots with him too. Just wanted to thank you for giving me back a few wonderful memories of the past.
Date: Wed, Jul 11, 2001, 1:01am
Hello. I stumbled upon your Roosevelt Raceway Tribute page. Nice job. I too was a major fan. Anyway. I had this picture you would probably appreciate but I had it stored where I could not forward it to you. I had to make a webpage and now I think you can view the bottom photo. Sad. The address is included....Steve

Date: Fri, Jul 20, 2001, 1:55am
Subject: thank you for the wonderful memories.
††Mr jeff rosen,
my hats off to you sir, on this walk down memory lane web site... yes, i too have wonderful recollections of roosevelt raceway.(where it all began..where it is today) roosevelt raceway to me was the pinnacle of harness racing. even though i grew up blocks from yonkers raceway, there was just something special about roosevelt. it was a sense of going to some place magical to was my way of escaping and living the fantasy world. i used to sneak into yonkers raceway as you did roosevelt to watch the racing at night.and would even cut school to watch the qualifying races. i was a very shy person growing up and had only a handful of friends. i never spoke to a girl or forbid kiss one because of the intense shyness that would overwhelm me. so as you see the racetrack became my i have a wonderful woman in my life.
while other kids would be discussing baseball cards i would be hudled in my room reading old racing programs.
getting to roosevelt raceway was a major problem since i lived in yonkers, ny. and was very young at the time.
but every weekend my next door neighbor who was an avid fan would go and i would catch a ride, if my mother approved. and i thank god she said ok..but just to watch!!! she would scream. and watch is what i did. i was 11-12 years old when i first set my eyes on the rotating RR SIGN atop the grandstand/clubhouse roof. but even earlier in my life i would sneak out to the candy store and wait for the new york daily news night owl edition of the paper to arrive for the following nights raceway entries . to get me through i would sneak my dads transitor radio and turn on 1010 wins news for the racing results from roosevelt that would come on twice an hour, i would make sure the radio was under my pillow so no one but me could hear jack lees tremendous voice boom out the top of the stretch race call, then proceed to give the winning prices, sponsered by "nemos of westbury" ( sorry for the rambling) forget about it when i would watch racing from roosevelt on wor tv with spencer ross and stan bergstein on channel 9 , i thought i was in heaven. but nothing could compare to the feeling of seeing roosevelt raceway for the first time with my eyes.
i remeber it like it was yesterday, as the car pulled in i was in the back seat and i looked forward to see the huge spinning sign with the double RR sitting back to back in orange and blue colors. then as we went in the entrance going up the long escalator, my heart was pounding terribly fast and then all of a sudden boom, you see that breathtaking tote board and the fountain of water going up in the infield. it was like going from a little league game all the way up to the major league. thats what roosevelt was in my eyes, they were the top dog of harness racing.. there are so many memories that would continue throughout my life at roosevelt , that i could not begin to put them to words. i can honestly say not one of them bad. yes later on i started to bet the horses i came to worship, first just friday and saturdays , then almost every day of the week as i go older. even though i lost money i had great times.. some of my childhood thoughts and memeories will never leave..
*i too remember the man selling the ballons ( dont forget the kids at home). and the pretzel and peanut guy selling his goods in a shopping cart.
*looking at the saddle pads and noticing they were a different color for starting positions then other tracks i had been to.
*noticing the lights that would go around the track..what great lighting they had..
*pulling into roosevelt through the back entrance and seeing the cop come out stopping traffic as the horses for that nights racing would walk across the street and enter the paddock..
*moments before the race would start when jack lee would cry out"this field is on gate" the lights in the grandstands would dim, making it that much more ††theatrical as the starting gate pulled away. *watching the warmups between races.
*the smell of the knishes and hot dogs on the bottom floor grandstand, with the indoor outdoor food stand.
*the secrecy of the 50-100 dollar window. those were mind boggling dollars to me back then..
*when i was a kid and run down to the rail and watch the post parade.,del insko always with a tooth pik in his mouth, he would sometimes look at me and just have that smirk on his face.
*some of my favorite horses... sugar valley abbe..buckaroo hanover...nickawampus leroy..jade price..alba counsel..mayaka prince...prince mac....seedling herbert..sonnetson...big abbe.. seatrain..jorky from the international off n..james b...savoir...moshanon express and ray romanetti. green speed..jacques dupois..vito spano...robert vitrano..keystone speed..uncle frank.. keystone pioneer..jambooger ( stan bergstein said this was the fastest horse for an 1/8 mile turn of foot hes ever seen) ..keytothecity( took me quite awhile to figure that name out)... talking my best friend out of the winning horse in the ninth race one drizzling rainy night named peter parker, you got it his name was peter too. and herve fillion coming first over from the quarter pole and keeping the horse brave to get up by a head. in later years as i would drive out to long island to go to jones beach, i didnt have the heart or courage to go by roosevelt just laying out there rotting away. i wanted to remember it as i did growing up. that was the biggest injustice to the racing community , my heart went out to them. as i go to racetracks today ,i always try to go back in time and recapture that feeling i had going to roosevelt but for some reason the magic eludes me. i wonder if the younger generations of racing fans can gather just a fraction of the wonderful times and memories that i had going to roosevelt. maybe there are some younger fans that feel the way i did going to the meadowlands today, but i sincerely doubt it.
as i sit here typing this , choking back the tears i thank you once again jeff for the work you have done providing this web site, giving me a chance to relive the happiest times in my life.
good bye roosevelt raceway, i miss you cam
Date: Sun, Jul 29, 2001, 10:48pm
I just checked out the "memorial" and I loved it.†I too was a huge fan. My grandfarher trainde and my dad drove,† Mike Lizzi, Sr. & Jr. Im†Mike also. I am sending you a great picture of RR from what I think is the mid to late 60's.† if you have any info on getting video of the races (WWOR show, etc) I would appreciate it.
Hi Jeff and thanks so very much for this website. Reading your selected email postings has brought back so many memories.
I too literally grew up at RR. I started working on the backstretch in 1969, at that time one of only a handful of "women" who worked there. Strange part about our little click at the time was we all knew each other because we all had riding horses and many of us rode and boarded together. Did you ever hear of the Roosevelt Fillies softball team? We stunk and poor Danny Mettinis probably still has nightmares. Did you ever stumble across news clippings when they shipped our riding horses in and made us hack 8 miles along the back roads of Old Westbury to get to Messenger's grave to publicize the Messenger Stakes? Lordy, there were so many lame stunts we went through.
Some of the people I worked for were Jack Richardson, Dave Dunckley (Empire Stables), Tom Moore, Ben Webster, Real Cormier, John Chapman. I remember the night Dave was killed, I was there the night in Yonkers when Bill Haughton died, I remember the death of Peter. But those are only the memorable names that most people would know. I have heard of so many of my backstretch friends that have passed, I wish there could be some tribute to them.
Alas, all I can say is if I too could go back and do it all over again, the way it was, I'd be there in a flash. The world of the back stretch was a life unto itself. One large family. It did not matter what track in the country you might travel to, there was always someone there you knew and who knew you. It was the best time of my life and yes a part of me diedwhen the Nassau County politicians blinded themselves to other cash offers for the track, seeing only their profits. I am so glad those SOB's went bust too, fitting to join the hundreds of other people that they forced into bankruptcy, loss of livelihood and on and on.
Enough of my still smoldering bitterness of these people, their place in Hell has been reserved for a while now. Are you aware that at that time Gov. Cuomo stated, "Who needs harness racing?" He can join the others.
brrrrrrrrrrrr, enough enough. Once again, thanks so much for your website a preserving a small piece of many peoples lives, many of who will forever go unmentioned but gave so much.
Sue Smorra
Date : Wed, 3 Oct 2001 06:45:26
just fond this site-i remember sholty with billyjoe byrd ragtime j remember myaka prince with that rush remember the great sat nite cards sir dalrae remember the stale pretzels at the end of the nite going home as teenager back to bklyn on the track bus.remember the 10$ window puching the blue tickets remember the fri nite trot races with savior and hunysukle rose remember sokys tiger i wish i can find old programs from the 70's
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