Four state lawmakers make It to the winner’s circle in Empire City’s 2022 Legislative Pace

From left, Standardbred Owners Association’s Joe Faraldo, state lawmakers Joe DeStefano, Nader Sayegh, Jaime Williams, J. Gary Pretlow, Brian Cunningham, Jamaal Bailey, James Gaughran, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Joe Addabbo Jr., Shelley Mayer, Eddie Gibbs, Amanda Septimo, Jodi Giglio, Steven Cymbrowitz, Karl Brabenec and Empire City Casino’s Ed Domingo.
Photo courtesy MGM Resorts

New York State senators and assemblymembers 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’. Dubbed the “Hottest Political Race of the Year,” the event consisted of four, before-the-card non-wagering harness races featuring state legislators competing in double-seated jog carts alongside professional harness racing drivers. Each race consisted of two laps around the famed one-half-mile Yonkers Raceway oval.

“We are honored 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 Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts Senior Vice President and General Manager Ed Domingo.

Fourteen New York State assemblymembers and state senators participated in the annual Legislative Pace with New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assemblymember Vivian Cook and former Legislative Pace winner Assemblymember Michael Benedetto cheering on their legislative colleagues.

The first win of the night went to Senator Joe Addabbo Jr., chair of the Senate Racing and Gaming Committee, who overtook his colleague Senator James Gaughran (R-Suffolk), as well as first-time participant Assemblymember Eddie Gibbs and 2021 Legislative Pace Champion Assemblymember Joe DeStefano.

The Senate streak continued in the second race with Senator Jamaal Bailey avenging his nail-biting 2021 loss to beat Amanda Septimo and 2021 Legislative Pace winner Nader Sayegh.

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 assemblymembers Karl Brabenec, Stefani Zinerman and Jaime Williams. A long-time participant, Pretlow has claimed seven Legislative Pace wins to date.

With Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins watching closely as the final race of the night pitted Yonkers’ own state Senator Shelley Mayer against assemblymembers Jodi Giglio, Brian Cunningham and Steve Cymbrowitz, 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 Jan. 1, 2023, due to redistricting.

The annual event brought together bipartisan 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 9 million guests annually.

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