Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

August 29, 2016

Agriculture Commissioner Celebrates New York Thoroughbred Horse Racing on New York Showcase Day at Saratoga Race Course

Commissioner and New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund Chair Present Trophy to Winner of Funny Cide Stakes

Photos can be found herehere and here 

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball, joined by New York Thoroughbred Breeding & Development Fund Chair and Gaming Commissioner John Poklemba, today attended New York Showcase Day at the historic Saratoga Race Course to celebrate the state’s Thoroughbred horse racing industry and its significant benefits to New York agriculture.  Thoroughbred horse racing in New York, which is at its pinnacle during the Saratoga meet each summer, supports the preservation of critical agricultural lands, the production of agricultural commodities such as feed, hay and straw, and agricultural services such as veterinary care, grooming, and blacksmithing.

Commissioner Ball said, “Unmatched in its quality of racing and historic character, the Saratoga Race Course is the perfect place to enjoy Thoroughbred racing at its finest, and to appreciate the incredible impact it has on agriculture in New York State through job creation, protection of green space, and agricultural support services.  I congratulate New York’s breeders who participated in today’s exciting races and for exemplifying the very best in the industry.”

Saratoga Race Course is the oldest racetrack and often considered the oldest sporting venue of any kind in the U.S.  It features many of the top Thoroughbred horses in New York and the world, and hosts the highest level of horse racing in the nation during a 40 day meet each summer. On New York Showcase Day, the spotlight is on New York’s finest Thoroughbreds as they compete in six New York Stakes races.

Today, Commissioner Ball was joined in the winner’s circle by Chairman Poklemba and Jack Knowlton, owner of Funny Cide, to present the trophy for the Funny Cide Stakes named in the horse’s honor.  In 2003, Funny Cide, a New York-Thoroughbred, won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Commissioner Ball’s visit to the racecourse follows the Department’s tour of three top Thoroughbred breeding farms in Saratoga County earlier this month to highlight the importance of horse racing and breeding to the agricultural industry.  

A 2012 study commissioned by the New York Horse Racing and Agriculture Industry Alliance estimates that New York’s more than 2,300 horse farms, riding stables and training centers support the protection, maintenance and recovery of more than one million acres of agricultural lands and green space. The report also estimates New York’s equine industry has a $4.2 billion effect on the state’s economy, including 33,000 full-time jobs and $187 million in state and local taxes.

“The New York Thoroughbred Breeding & Development Fund provides critical support to the state’s horse breeders, and in-turn the entire agricultural economy,” said Chairman Poklemba. “Today is truly a showcase of New York’s finest Thoroughbreds and I’m honored to join my colleagues to celebrate these amazing athletes at the world’s best race course.”

Jeffrey Cannizzo, Executive Director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. said, "The New York Thoroughbred Breeders are a major part of the agri-business sector in New York State.  We produce the great racing product that makes this entire industry work, racehorses.  It's because of these horses that we're one of the largest agricultural industries in the State.  They create a tremendous trickle down effect to our local economies in virtually every corner of New York.  We applaud the Commissioner and the Department of Agriculture and Markets for recognizing our important contribution to agriculture on Showcase Day where the very best NY-Breds are competing."

In conjunction with New York Showcase Day, Commissioner Ball also joined representatives from the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. for a Taste NY luncheon in the Paddock Tent at the racecourse. Lunch was prepared using products from 20 New York companies including:

A&M Bronx Bakery (New York City)
Adventure in Foods (Capital Region)
Bountiful Bread (Capital Region)
Coccadotts Cake Shop (Capital Region)
Davenport Farms (Mid-Hudson)
Four Fat Fowl (Capital Region)
Gillette Creamery (Capital Region)
Golden Crust Bakery (Capital Region)
Hand Melon Farm (Capital Region)
Heron Hill Winery (Southern Tier)
Logan Farms (Mohawk Valley)
Macari Vineyards (Long Island)
Murray's Farms (Mid-Hudson)
R & G Farms (Capital Region)
Saranac Brewery (Mohawk Valley)
Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. (Capital Region)
Schoharie Valley Farms (Capital Region)
Stannard Farms (Capital Region)
Steadfast Beer Company (Capital Region)
The Saratoga Winery (Capital Region)

In addition, New York craft beverage producers were also highlighted as part of the ongoing Taste NY at Saratoga Series in the Saratoga Pavilion at the racetrack. 

"We are proud to have been one of the first organizations to embrace the Taste NY program, beginning at Saratoga Race Course in 2014 and subsequently expanding the partnership to include Belmont Park," said New York Racing Association CEO and President Chris Kay. "NYRA has played an important role in introducing all that is great about this signature program to others, especially the many out of state tourists that visit Saratoga for the world's finest horse racing meet, and we are pleased to do so again."

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ mission is to foster a competitive food and agriculture industry that benefits producers and consumers alike. The Department, through its various divisions and programs, works to promote the agricultural industry and its world-class products, foster agricultural environmental stewardship, and safeguard the State’s food supply and agricultural animals to ensure the growth of the industry.

The Department operates the Great New York State Fair, and administers the Taste NY initiative, the FreshConnect and new New York State Grown and Certified programs.   Follow the Department on its Facebook page and on Twitter.

2016 Press Releases