New York State Senators and Assembly Members raced for ‘power positions’ but all in good fun as legislators battled for bragging rights at Yonkers Raceway during the 2022 Legislative Pace hosted by Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
Dubbed the “Hottest Political Race of the Year,” the event consisted of four, before-the-card non-wagering harness races featuring New York State legislators competing in double-seated jog carts alongside professional harness racing drivers. Each race consisted of two laps around the famed half-mile Yonkers Raceway oval.
“We are honoured to have these exceptional legislators participate in the Legislative Pace for some fun, friendly competition and experience firsthand the incredible history of Yonkers Raceway,” said Ed Domingo, Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts' Senior Vice President and General Manager.
Fourteen New York State Assembly Members and State Senators participated in the annual Legislative Pace with New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester), Assembly Member Vivian Cook (D-Queens) and former Legislative Pace winner Assembly Member Mike Bendetto (D-Bronx) cheering on their legislative colleagues.
The first win of the night went to Senator Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Queens), Chair of the Senate Racing and Gaming Committee, who overtook his colleague Senator James Gaughran (R-Suffolk), as well as first-time participant Assembly Member Eddie Gibbs (D-Manhattan) and 2021 Legislative Pace champion Assembly Member Joe DeStefano (R-Suffolk).
The Senate streak continued in the second race with Senator Jamaal Bailey (D-Bronx) avenging his nail-biting 2021 loss to beat Amanda Septimo (D-Bronx) and 2021 Legislative Pace winner Nader Sayegh (D-Westchester).
With no Senate participant in the third race, a full Senate sweep was impossible. The third race had repeat Legislative Pace winner Assembly Racing and Gaming Chair Gary Pretlow (D-Westchester) working to defend his title. Pretlow worked to stay ahead of fellow Assembly Members Karl Brabenec (R-Orange/Rockland), Stefani Zinerman (D-Brooklyn) and Jaime Williams (D-Brooklyn). A long-time participant, Assembly Member Pretlow has claimed seven Legislative Pace wins to date.
With Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins watching closely as the final race of the night pitted Yonkers’ own State Senator Shelley Mayer (D-Westchester) against Assembly Members Jodi Giglio (R-Suffolk), Assembly Members Brian Cunningham (D-Brooklyn) and Steve Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Mayer demonstrated her racing prowess as she raced to the finish with a tremendous lead over her opponents. A fitting finish for Mayer, whose district will no longer include Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway as of January 1, 2023, due to redistricting.
The annual event brought together bi-partisan legislators from across the state to the historic Yonkers Raceway, which was founded in 1899 and is now part of Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts. Empire City boasts the sixth-largest gaming floor in the country and welcomes more than nine million guests annually.
Live racing continues at Yonkers Raceway Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday evenings with a first-race post time of 6:55 p.m.