New York State Legislators will compete in live races at Yonkers

Yonkers, NY — Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts announced the date has been set for the annual Legislative Pace and New York State Senators and Assembly Members have circled Tuesday (Sept. 13) on their busy calendars for what is being dubbed “The Hottest Political Race of the Year.”

The annual Legislative Pace will give legislators the reins as they compete for bragging rights in what has become an ultra-competitive, yet friendly, must-see harness racing extravaganza at Yonkers Raceway hosted by Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts’ (“Empire City”) and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York (“SOANY”).

The event has been held annually, with the exception of 2020, allowing New York State legislators to participate in before-the-card non-wagering harness races, holding the reins in double-seated jog carts alongside professional harness drivers. Each of the races consists of two trips around Yonkers Raceway’s historic half-mile oval.

“The annual Legislative Pace event is a great way for legislators to come together and advocate for the needs of the harness industry,” said New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. “As the Chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, I work to ensure that the harness racing industry is properly represented and the needs of the riders, horses, trainers and owners are adequately met. I look forward to taking part in this great event.”

In the 2021 Legislative Pace, the three winners of their respective harness races took the reins for a second time to determine which of the three would be named champion of the night. The match pitted three Assembly Members against each other. First-time Legislative Pace participant Assembly Member Joe DeStefano (R-Medford) faced veteran participants and former race champions in Chair of the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee Gary Pretlow (D-Westchester) and colleague Nader Sayegh (D-Westchester). DeStefano emerged the overall champion in a competitive race.

Immediately after his victory, DeStefano turned his focus to returning to defend his championship title.

“I can now officially claim an undefeated record at the Legislative Pace, and I look forward to defending my title next year,” DeStefano said. “Winning these two races on behalf of my district in Suffolk County was an added bonus to such a fun day with my colleagues in government to come together and highlight the importance of harness racing to the downstate and upstate economies.”

The 2021 Legislative Pace participants got to experience the significant investment MGM Resorts made in the historic track of more than $750,000 that funded the first such investment the track has seen in more than 15 years, including the installation and upgrading of track lighting to an LED system.

“I look forward to participating in Empire City Casino’s annual Legislative Pace event alongside my colleagues,” said New York State Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee Chair J. Gary Pretlow. “It will be another memorable year with so much fun and a competitive spirit from all the participants.”

The legislative line-up for the 2022 Legislative Pace will be announced shortly. Past participants include representatives from across New York State in both the State Senate and State Assembly. Participation is limited to state representatives currently holding elected office.

The historic Yonkers Raceway has also announced that it will once again host the famed $1 million MGM Yonkers International Trot on Saturday (Oct. 15), along with the $500,000 Aria Invitational Race and $500,000 Robert Miecuna Invitational Race. This is the first International Trot to be held since before the pandemic in 2019. The race draws the best harness equine athletes from across the world to Yonkers, N.Y. to compete for one of the richest purses in the industry.

Since 1959, the International Trot has historically been a global showcase of harness racing, hosting driver, trainer and equine royalty from across the globe. The International Trot officially moved to Yonkers Raceway in 1988 and was contested as a mile and a quarter event on the historic half-mile track for a few years before being revived in 2015 after a 20-year hiatus. Now officially rechristened as the MGM Yonkers International Trot and one of only two million-dollar races in the United States, along with the Hambletonian, it is one of the few stakes races fully funded by the host track and requires no financial commitment from owners.

Live racing continues at Yonkers Raceway Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday evenings with a first-race post time of 6:55 p.m.. Races are simulcast and available for viewing and wagering online at where racing fans can create a free account and view live racing at Yonkers Raceway and tracks across the country.

For more information on Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts, please visit

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