Sugar Plum Soiree Raises Money for Backstretch Kids

The Hall of Springs was transformed into a winter wonderland on Aug. 23. Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” played and peppermints and candy canes filled martini glasses as poised ballerinas greeted the 250 guests at Belmont Child Care Association’s “Sugar Plum Soiree,” honoring thoroughbred owner Paul Saylor.

Joanne Adams, executive director, and Libby Imperio, board president, thanked the owners, trainers, jockeys and supporters of the Belmont Child Care Association, which provides day care and after-school programs for children of backstretch workers at NYRA’s three tracks. Anna House has hosted 1,000 students, from infants to age 12, since opening at Belmont in 2002, and BCCA supports summer programs in Saratoga, including classes at the Museum of Dance.

“Everybody in the world deserves a chance,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, celebrity auctioneer, told the crowd. “The people in the backstretch, they take care of us, so we want to take care of them.” Excursions to Broadway, the 2018 U.S. Open and Block Island were auctioned, raising a record amount.

Board Chairman Michael Dubb, a builder and thoroughbred owner, and other founders of Anna House said they were prompted to action when they discovered that young children could be found sleeping in cars without supervision while their backstretch parents worked.

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