Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts announces 2023 racing schedule

12 January 2023

(PRESS RELEASE) -- A trio of harness racing titans have come to Yonkers Raceway at Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts as the gaming and hospitality destination announced the 2023 racing schedule and its new leadership team taking the reins at the historic 124-year-old half-mile harness track. The announcement marks the first time in more than 35 years that Yonkers Raceway welcomes three racing leaders almost simultaneously.

Jonathan “Joe” Frasure Jr. joined Yonkers Raceway in January 2020 as Assistant Race Secretary and was promoted to the top spot of Race Secretary following the retirement of Yonkers Raceway fixture Bob Miecuna. Joining Frasure are Assistant Race Secretaries Annmarie Mancini and John Mattero. The trio bring more than fifty years of harness racing leadership experience to Yonkers Raceway.

“In addition to investing in the historic legacy of our track, we have also invested in our experienced racing talent who know the harness racing industry inside and out,” said Ed Domingo, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts. “We look forward to an exciting 2023 season.”

Frasure is a veteran of harness racing, having devoted more than forty years to the sport, overseeing all aspects of racing operations at Florida’s Pompano Park as Race Secretary before joining Yonkers Raceway. Frasure grew up in Franklin, Ohio near Lebanon Raceway and though his family had no roots in racing, he developed a passion for the sport after visiting Latonia Racecourse in Kentucky with a neighbor. During Frasure’s first interaction with a horse, he was warned the horse may bite. Instead, the horse kissed Frasure on the cheek and rested its head on his shoulder. That moment left an indelible impression on Frasure and a lifelong passion for the sport began with a job cleaning stalls at just thirteen years old.

Frasure’s career brought him to Pompano Park where he worked as a trainer, driver and owner for more than thirty-two years before assuming a management role at Pompano Park in 2011. Frasure was elevated to Assistant Race Secretary in 2013 and then Race Secretary in 2016. Frasure crossed paths with both Mancini and Mattero at different points in his career at Pompano Park. When he joined the Yonkers Raceway team, Frasure saw an opportunity to bring three titans of harness racing together.

“The opportunity to come to Yonkers Raceway was an opportunity I just could not pass up and the inclusive culture of MGM Resorts made the decision that much easier,” said Frasure. “MGM Resorts has demonstrated time and time again that they are committed to our exciting sport, and we are looking forward to bringing new faces to Yonkers.”

Unlike Frasure, Mancini had deep family roots in harness racing and was introduced to the sport at an early age by her father who was a trainer in Massachusetts. Mancini has been rolling bandages since she was three years old and by the age of ten, her father put her to work cleaning stalls at Bay State Raceway (later known as Foxboro Park). Mancini met her late husband at Bay State Raceway, who at the time was a trainer there. Mancini’s roles in harness racing have ranged from groom, trainer, owner, an accredited judge, and driver. Mancini was in the sulky as a driver for the first time in a race in Foxboro when she was just eighteen years old.

Mancini left the sport following the passing of her husband and took a job at a medical software company for many years. However, Mancini returned to the sport she loved, spending thirteen years at Plainridge Park. Mancini spent the first seven years there as Program Director before becoming Presiding Judge for six years prior to joining Yonkers Raceway.

“I am excited to have a role in bringing Yonkers Raceway into its future glory,” said Mancini. “We are hoping to add additional premier races to the lineup. It is such a pleasure and an honor to be part of the leadership team of this iconic track.”

Mattero got his introduction to the sport of harness racing a bit later in life than Frasure and Mancini. Mattero was 19 years old when he visited Marlborough Trotting Park in Massachusetts. He was immediately enthralled by the sport and that visit led to his first job in the industry as a groomer at Foxboro Raceway.

Mattero has enjoyed being involved as a trainer in both harness and thoroughbred racing at Foxboro Raceway, Meadowlands Raceway, New Hampshire’s Rockingham Park, Suffolk Downs in Boston, New York’s Saratoga Race Course, Plainridge Park, Pompano Park among others.

Mattero’s transition to harness racing management began at Plainridge Park, where he started tracking races, pulling programs together and eventually planning racing schedules. Like Mancini, Mattero was introduced to Frasure at Pompano Park. That encounter paved the way for Frasure to recruit Mattero to join him at Yonkers Raceway as second Assistant Race Secretary.

“At Yonkers Raceway, the class of horses is the highest in the industry,” said Mattero. “ Yonkers Raceway is such an incredible environment for our sport, and I am excited to now be a part of it.”

MGM Resorts continues to demonstrate its commitment to the future of harness racing at Yonkers Raceway, including investing more than half a million dollars in track renovations to enhance the overall racing experience. These renovations include resurfacing the track using more than six-thousand tons of recycled track material, installation of all new-LED lighting, raising the turns by as much as a foot and new modern infield board. The upgraded infield board's multiple display will allow racing fans at Yonkers Raceway to see broadcasts of the live action on the infield board. These upgrades were completed to enhance the on-track experience for racing fans.

In the first full racing season under their leadership, Frasure, Mancini and Mattero will oversee an exciting 2023 schedule that includes a 240-days of racing that will run from Monday, 16 January through Wednesday, 20 December 2023. The season highlights include the world famous $1 million Yonkers International Trot scheduled for 23 September 2023, the MGM Borgata Pacing Series starting March 20, MGM Yonkers Trot on 30 June 2023, and the New York Night of Champions returning to Yonkers Raceway on 9 September 2023.

Related Links
MGM Resorts International Gaming Vendor Information
MGM Resorts International Ownership Details
Empire City Casino Details

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