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Selected Emails for The Memorial to Roosevelt Raceway Page 9

Page 9 of Selected Emails

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

Monday, November 3, 2003 10:17 PM
It is very obvious that you are extremely knowledgeable about Roosevelt Race Way. My father used to work there as a teller for ten years. He has recently passed away, and it has come to our attention that my pop had life insurance through there insurance carrier. We have been unable to find who the pension fund was transferred to and although it is not a lot of money it will be very helpful to my mother. If you have any information that would help in regards to where there pension fund was transferred it would be greatly appreciated.
Saturday, November 29, 2003 9:10 AM
hi jeff,
like many others i stumbled on to this site. it was unreal. almost all the emails on the site were my exact memories. (i am 45 yrs old))
i could literally write a book on what i know about rr. i feel the peak in harness racing was the international nites when over 60,000 jammed into rr.
i also believe there was nothing like cardigan bay, i still think of him today.
when i saw the pari-mutual tixs on yr site i almost fainted. the closing of rr highlites what i feel is the rampant corruption in our society among the politicians.
i hope one day can talk to you by phone.
hope all is well
mike bronzino
Wednesday, December 10, 2003 11:48 PM
I just stumbled across your website about Roosevelt Raceway and, like many others who’ve emailed you, it brought back lots of memories. Roosevelt was the first racetrack I ever visited, it was on April 1, 1967. My first winner was that night – it was Morant, driven by Del Insko. My brother took me there that night (I was too young to drive at the time, only 19 – driving age was 20 or 21 in 1967), and he thought I was an idiot to bet on such a short priced favorite, but to me it was exciting just to cash a ticket. The price? $3.00 to win, I was “hooked”!
Now thirty five plus years later, after 100+ different racetracks in the world, including all the best (and worst) in the US and Canada, and including the Royal Ascot meeting in Great Britain, Roosevelt Raceway will always be the first, and perhaps the most memorable.
I could go on for pages talking about my experiences (like the night I got there for only the last four races, won all four and walked out with more than $200 profit just betting $2.00 to win and a few exactas in the last race), seeing Romulus Hanover, Rum Customer, Nevele Pride, and ALL the great drivers you mentioned. I was stunned to learn that they finally demolished the building – I always held out hope that as long as it was there it was possible (a dream?) that one day someone would figure out a way to open it again. Sadly now that won’t happen.
Thanks for bringing that all back to my mind.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003 8:06 PM
Love your web site! I'll send another email with my remembrances.
I need a favor.
Steve Newman posted on September 1, 2003 and mentioned a college exhibition race at Saratoga Harness in 1974. Steve and I went to SUNY Albany together.
I was the President of the Harness Racing Club that organized the race that he won.
Can you send me his email address. I would love to reconnect.
Thanks in advance.
Friday, December 12, 2003 9:36 AM
Jeff, my name is Jeff Feinman and I do some publicity work at Monticello Raceway. This past summer we had the "Battle of the New York Legends" It was great to see the boys again. I attached the photo for you...enjoy!!
From left to right:
Carmine Abbatiello, Norman Dauplaise (passed away a few months ago), Edward Lohmeyer, Del Insko, Ken McNutt, Frank Popfinger, Ben Webster, Merrit "Butch" Dokey, Larry Roman (sponser of event), Ben Steall, Real (KOKO) Cormeir, William (Buddy) Gilmour, William Popfinger and John Manzi, publicity director, Monticello Raceway.

Unfortunalely NY would not license Herve Filion for the event and Joe Marsh Jr. was ill and could not attend.

FYI: Collectively the guys have over 37,000 wins and purses in excess of 243 million which are incredible totals considering the majority of each came from an era of shorter race seasons and smaller purses.

Friday, December 12, 2003 11:09 AM
Subject : Nickawampus Leroy
Just a note to let you know we lost Leroy on December 6. 2003. He had developed pneumonia and pleurisy. We all cried but Mike most of all, who had been a little boy when Leroy was born and spent his entire life with Mike, because Bill Lewis raised Mike. Mike said "He was born on a snowy morning and he died on a snowy morning." Leroy was the end of an era...the last of the Nickawampus horses.
Saturday, December 20, 2003 5:47 PM
i thoroughly enjoyed reading through your site i didnt realize so many people have fond memories so similar to mine
my parents lived right off Old Country Road about a mile and a half east of the raceway. although i went to the track hundreds of times, my favorite memory was when the international trot horses were in town. very early on sunday morning i would spot a few of them actually trotting all the way down old country road to the front of my home. it was amazing to see them trotting down the middle of the street!
i do miss the old raceway.. i feel like i grew up there. i did manage to "borrow" a blue grandstand sign before the old place was torn down. racing just isnt the same since
Wednesday, December 24, 2003 3:50 PM
Jeff, Came upon your site while searching for information on the International on the internet. Like everyone else I was devastated when they closed RR and even more so when they finally tore it down. I worked for Sports Eye for many years doing a double shift, working the flats during the day when Sports Eye had its Past Performance paper, and working part-time as chart caller at Meadowlands at night. Charlie Singer would call the horses' positions and beaten lengths for each call and Bob "Hollywood" Heyden and I would alternate doing the commentary and short comments for the Sports Eye Harness past performances. Never did like the BIG M and would anxiously wait for the BIG M to shut down so I could go to my favorite track of all time - Roosevelt. My best memory was catching Goose Step, driven by Alan Alkes, losing the lead in upper stretch then coming on gamely again to win during a snowstorm. I don't think anyone has mentioned the Beauty Contest they held one year as a tie-in promotion for the Roosevelt International. That was always my favorite race. Still have a small black tote bag from one of the Internationals. Made many a score with Joe Marsh, Jr. from the seven and eight holes driving for Robert Hiel. That duo was just as deadly from the French Rail as Herve. Thanks for the memories. Still work in the press box covering NYRA circuit. When I tell some of the newcomers my old RR stories they just shake their heads, realizing how they missed the golden age of racing. Keep up the good work Jeff.
Dan K.
Saturday, December 27, 2003 3:15 AM dear jeff and all harness fans ROOSEVELT was and always will be a treasure i went to ROOSEVELT from1980/to its closing 4 nights a week owned even help groom now its THEmeadowlands till late 2004 then THE BIG Y is back purses will be booming and luc returns] back to the memories;bobbo and genghis kahn eddie brick hands cobb to billy o ,secret service and jimmy marohn bud t ace ;synergy;yankee james; the penman ]adventurous lady impromptu hanover s a crest and OH FRANKIE OH and the heartless did done do' the funny thing was when you went to ROOSEVELT YOU WENT TO THE SAME SPOT EVERY NITE HERES MY LIST OF TOP THREE DRIVERS OF ROOSEVELT MY ERA ;#1 HERVE IMAGINE IF HE TRIED EVERY RACE #2CARMINE #JOE MARSH TALENTED BUT ANOTHER HERVE / MY TOP THREE TRAINERS MY ERA #1 JOE FARALDO WHAT HE FORGOT SOME OF THE NEW GUYS WILL NEVER LEARN #2 LARRY SUMMERS JUST A GOOD PERSON #3RITCHIE OTTIMO AND CLAUDE RICHARDS TIED FOR 3RD HAHA ONLY KIDDING WAIT KENNY BARON EVEN FUNNIER MY REAL #3IS LINDA TOSCANO well ill always think about the great times in the barn area watching wally v take all the money in cards louies dad in the shop i close my eyes and im there and one final moment if you were a regular you will remember the 3 bozos every nite # 1mathusalar youknow the bum with the beard #2 frank tagarello,s nephew in his own mind /#3first floor looked like DAVID LEE ROTH ;BOOTS CURLED LIKE THE IRON SHEIK OF WWF WELL BE WELL MY FRIENDS FROM SUNNY
Friday, January 2, 2004 12:34 AM
Jeff, I grew up on Long Island before moving to Baltimore in 1983 at age 24. I just found out tonight by accident while searching the web that Roosevelt Raceway is no more. I never went there, but passed it by many times. I used to like watching Racing From Roosevelt, with Dave Johnson and Stan Bergstein, on TV in high school in the mid-1970's. Now that I know Roosevelt is gone, I feel very sad.
Why did they close the track? Was it poor attendance? Did OTB hurt its business? Please let me know what happened. Thanks.
Monday, January 5, 2004 1:24 AM
well sorry aint enough was brOken hearted 4 years a regular from 1980 to closing became an owner did good even a better gambler learned from the best wally v ;sharp as they come even went to yonkers 3x a week but roosevelt was it like many people my dad took me on a beutifull nite bet 4 to win on russel rash from the rail wee wire to wire 11.20 well hooked aint the word i would ride my 10 speed to RRfrom levittown take taxis ;my two best bets of all time synergy 33.00 and imprmptu hanover 9.60 best three drivers of our era #1 mike lachance #2 herve filion #3carmine abbatiello best three trainers joe faraldo ) larry summers )vinny auragemma )well gonna go now and always remember this please dont blame the politicians ;not much there fault but thats a whole different chapter' love ya rosie still to this day miss ya wait forgot the three most funniest things about roosevelt#1 the guy who thought he was frank tagarello,s nephew #2 ken baron listed as a trainer ]histeracle#3lenny Damelio as driver maybe as big bird but couldnt drive a hot spike into a snow ball
Wednesday, January 7, 2004 5:14 PM Hello Jeff,
This may or may not be interesting to you but my mother , 86 years young, just told me about riding with her husband to be in a Ford Model A around Roosevelt Raceway. This happened around 1936 and there was a lot of construction going on and it cost a $1.00.
The guy watching the cars told them to slow down but they were only going about 35 miles per hour.
Take care,
Brian, and mother Jane Kratz
Friday, January 9, 2004 9:09 PM
Great website,brings back so many memories.I used to park by Fortunoffs and crawl under the fence to save the $1.50 parking,then try to go in thru the "youth night"entrance for $1.00 even tough I was in my mid 20's.I remember sitting in my car waiting for them to turn the green light into red so we could get into the parking lot for free for the last 2 races.I remember picking up a program off the floor for the last 2 races.I remember buying the Lawton sheet and the Orange Trotter tip sheets.I still have 2 of those $2.25 entrance tokens from Roosevelt.We used to try to push in 2 at a time to save money if no one was looking.I remember on the 3rd level the show window with the old man who used to soak his teeth in the cup next to window.I loved Jack Lee's calls,especially when he called a horse named BOBO and Nickawampus Leroy.I used to like the way Jack would say "And..... can see them all,or...... has the best view". I remember when they built the fountains in the infield,and when they put the peach in the infield saying Nassau was a peach of a place compared to the apple.Ahh,so many memories of my youth.Loved that place.I go to Pompano Park now.It's just not the same,in fact,Pompano Park has eliminated show wagering on all races.I remember at Roosevelt,we would all kick in $2.00 each before the 1st race and start a show pool and see how many races we could carry the money over.We once made it thru 8 races before we got greedy in the 9th. There will never be another place like Roosevelt.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004 7:08 PM
Thanks for the Memorial page on Roosevelt Raceway. It brought back many memories.

You don't know me but I am writing you for a little information. I lived in East Meadow from July 1961 through December 1964. My father was in the Navy and stationed first at 90 Church Street(Federal Building) and later managed the housing project in East Meadow. My address was 312 Mitchell Ave. I attended East Meadow High my 9th, 10th and half of my junior year. Would have graduated in 1966 if we had stayed. However, dad got transferred to San Diego, California so we had to move.

I also worked at a luncheonette in a shopping center near where I lived. The shopping center was bordered on the north by Front Street or Ave. and on the east by Merrick Ave. or Blvd. Is the shopping center still there? Is the housing project still there? Finally, I also worked at the Navy PX at Mitchell Field. What happened to Mitchell Field? I suspect it was developed.

I had a good friend that lived on Gates St. named Fred Marchese who was a year older than I was and would have graduated in 1965. He had a brother named Carl who was a couple years older and a couple of sisters(one was named Carol). I kept in touch with him for a little while after I moved but lost track of him. The Marchese's were an Italian family that had lived in Brooklyn and moved to the 'suburbs'. They were great people. Would love to know whatever happened to them.

The reason I remember Roosevelt Raceway was of an interest I developed in Horse Racing. I used to ride my bicycle to the track and sit outside and listen to some of the races. I was only 13-16 during those years, and as you know too young to get into the track. There was a cook at the luncheonette I worked at who bet through a bookie and let me bet with him at times. We probably should have kept the bookies and never started OTB. Maybe RR would still be around today if we had.

Anyway, my wife and I are planning a trip to New York City and East Meadow this year. She has never been there and for me it will be my first time back in 40 years! If you get time to send me a return message and let me know how things are today I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Friday, January 16, 2004 1:43 PM
Stumbled on looking for demise of Norman Dauplaise. Great work. When I get less busy, i'll give you some of my thoughts. First visit in 1957. Became a regular in 1962. Lost touch after 1985 when i moved to nj. Used to look forward to the Hopeful series in Jan & Feb Still have a souvenir glass from the 1963 International.
The Hat
Sunday, January 25, 2004 11:22 AM
Jeff, great memories of the site. I grew up at the track.I was there every weekend, or when school was out. I remember Jimmy Cruise, Teddy Yuhas, Bobby Aiello, Wally & Bobby Van Ostrand, Mike Lizzi, the gangsters, so much fun. I have many races from Roosevlet Raceway on video - DVD- vhs -. All the Big races from the 70's til closing. The Messenger, Internationl Trot, Challenge Cup...Ideal du Gazeau, Cam Fella, On The Road Again, Ralph Hanover, Docs Fella, Division Street, Niatross, Une de Mai, Delmonica Hanover, Bobbo, Most Happy Fella, Warm Breeze, Pershing Square, Dragons Lair, My Bill Forwood, Carmine, Herve, Jimmy Cruise, Haughton, Chapman...
Sent : Monday, February 16, 2004 10:38 AM
The memory I hold dearest is going down to the rail after the race and listening to the people screaming curses at the drivers who they felt did not live up to their expectations. Sometimes I would join in. My favorite was Eddie Cobb. He would sit on the rail for the whole race most times, but of course when he was 'Ready' he became a pretty decent driver, making as many as 3 moves.
One time I went back towards the paddock and started in on Eddie. His assistant, a huge man suggested we meet outside. I said 'anytime you #@*& etc.I'll meet you out in the parking lot right now!' But of course I didn't go.
Hey has anyone mentioned the "Racketeer" Guy? He used to scream 'Racketeers, Gangstas, Creeminals' after every race he lost. Always dressed very well. He would scream at people who worked there , but especially at the drivers.Sometimes he would "show?" people how the program gave signals in code to reveal winners to the insiders- He went through a series of things like-
"There, you see how the program says the #3 is 4-1? So you add 3 and 4 and what do you get?" He would wait until you answered #7 and then he would say something like "Ah-there, you see the #7 won that fixed race-" and then he would start in with more "Racketeers, Gangstas, Creeminals" etc. A couple times we asked him about the signals before the race and of course he would start cursing at us and declaring us stupid. Like the ad on TV today says-"PRICELESS!"

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