Multi-Purpose Center at Belmont Park Coming Along


The New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America (NYRTCA) announced today that it has passed the halfway mark in its ongoing effort to raise funds necessary to build a multi-purpose building and chapel on the grounds of Belmont Park in Elmont, NY.

The 5,000-square foot facility will cost approximately $800,000 to build, according to Humberto Chavez, the chaplain in New York.

Personal donations of $100,000 have been made by Lisa and Kenny Troutt of WinStar Farm, Kristine and Chris Kay, New York Racing Association (NYRA) CEO & President and Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson.

Horse owner Michael Dubb, who donated the two trailers where the Chaplaincy is currently housed, has pledged his donation in building materials for the entire facility.

Chavez said that ground-breaking ceremonies for the Chaplaincy Center are tentatively scheduled for the Spring of 2019 with a completion date targeted for the Fall of 2019.

“To have a facility like this has been a dream of mine for the past 15 years,” he said. “Thanks to those who have already made commitments and to those who will be doing so, the backstretch community will now have a place where people can relax, unwind, worship and learn new skills.”

The New York chaplaincy was created in 1986. It ministers to the needs of backstretch community at the NYRA racetracks (Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course) through a wide variety of programs. They include enrichment programs for children, social service programs, recreational programs, educational opportunities and non-denominational religious services.

“Our services have continued to grow through the years and we’ve just outgrown the two trailers we’ve been using as our headquarters,” Chavez said.
Chavez, who was named chaplain in 2003, said he shared his dream with Chris Kay shortly after the 2018 Belmont Stakes. “We discussed how much the backstretch needed a building like this and he quickly said, ‘Let’s make it happen.’”

The new facility will include office space for the Chaplain and his staff, areas for recreation, non-denominational worship, and confidential counseling. There will also be a storage area for the food pantry, and a room to be known as the Cot Classroom, in honor of the late Cot Campbell, a Thoroughbred owner and longtime NYRTCA supporter who passed away in October 2018.

The classroom will be used as a learning center where backstretch workers can learn about financial literacy, computer skills, citizenship issues, social advocacy programs, and cultural learning opportunities.

“Kris and I greatly appreciate the important work of the NY Racetrack Chaplaincy, which provides impactful spiritual services and resources for the backstretch community,” said NYRA CEO & President Chris Kay. ““That is why my wife and I are so pleased to be able to make a personal contribution to support the construction of a new and permanent headquarters at Belmont Park that will properly reflect the central role the Chaplaincy plays in the lives of so many.”

Chavez said that fund-raising efforts are ongoing and that numerous sponsorship opportunities, up to and including the naming of the center, are available. Those interested in making a donation, taking a sponsorship, or further information can write to Nancy Kelly, Board President, at or call (516) 287-3289 or visit this link.

The New York chaplaincy is supported by its major sponsors: NYRA, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, The Thoroughbred Charities of America, the Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation, and the New York Women’s Foundation, as well as by other foundations and numerous individuals.

Source: Press Release

Ramon Dominguez’ Appeal to Horse Racing Friends

Please consider donating to the NY Race Track Chaplaincy

Dear Friends:

If you have already donated to the NY Race Track Chaplaincy’s year-end appeal, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If not, I ask you toHall of Fame rider Jockey Ramon Dominguez hear our story and consider supporting our important programs. Donate Now

As a member of the Executive Board of the NY Race Track Chaplaincy, and a long-time volunteer and supporter, I invite you to step inside the office of the Chaplaincy where the harsh realities and challenges of life on the backstretch are starkly evident.

You will find our chairs are filled by those patiently waiting to be heard as they face any number of difficult or frustrating circumstances. The first person may be facing eviction, and the next may be in need of food or clothing. The next may need assistance with a visa application or have questions about a path to citizenship. An injured worker may need help with a workers’ compensation hearing. A father with a sick child may need a translator to speak with a pharmacist, or may not be able to afford needed medication. A mother may need diapers for her baby or a ride to the doctor. Parents may need a translator to assist at a school conference.

While we help so many on a daily basis, we are keenly aware of the unmet need on the track. Will you help us to grow in our mission and to better serve the backstretch community and their families?

The NY Chaplaincy does not employ a fundraiser, a spokesperson, or a development staff. You are hearing directly from us, and if you choose to contribute, you are contributing directly to us. Your contribution goes straight to work, and impacts lives in a very direct way. I can speak firsthand to the benefit of the work of the Chaplaincy. When I sustained my injury, the Chaplaincy was there for me emotionally and spiritually, and with your help we could be there for many more.

Whether you are able to help financially, or with your time and talents, we need you. We ask you to partner with us, learn with us, and serve with us. Whether we have known you for years or this is your first introduction to the Chaplaincy, we are praying you will give us the opportunity to allow us to get to know you better, and for you to find your place with us.

Please use this link to donate or to volunteer, and join us on a journey that will change your life even more than it changes those we serve. We pray we will hear from you soon.

God Bless You,

Ramón Dominguez, Hall of Fame Jockey
Executive Member, Board of Directors,
NY Race Track Chaplaincy