Day At The Track

Rooney 'Man of the Half Century'

04:39 PM 14 Apr 2008 NZST
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Tim Rooney and his wife, June
Tim Rooney and his wife, June - Accept the Man of the Year award from Dominic Frinzi 2007
USTA photo

Timothy J. Rooney, the president of Yonkers Raceway since 1972 when the Rooney family purchased the track, will be feted as “Man of the Half Century” by the New York City Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association at its 50th Anniversary Awards Banquet on Sunday, April 27, in the Good Time Room at Empire City at Yonkers Raceway.

A prominent standardbred owner and breeder, Mr. Rooney is the third son of Pittsburgh Steelers founding father, Arthur J. Rooney, Sr., and the Raceway has become one of the country’s premier harness, gaming and entertainment facilities under his stewardship.

Rooney will also be recognized as “Man of the Year.”

In 2006, Mr. Rooney was the driving force behind the $225 million renovation of Empire City at Yonkers Raceway, the 5,300 video gaming machine emporium. Those steadfast efforts have made contributions of over $196 million to education in New York State in its first year. Empire City also added 1,000 jobs at the facility, taking the employee total from 300 to 1,300.

This historic dinner will also honor the top performers of the half century as well as the stars of 2007. Carmine Abbatiello, who dominated the Yonkers-Roosevelt circuit with a combined 17 driving crowns is Driver of the Half Century, while the “Gold Dust Twins,” Stanley Dancer and Billy Haughton, are the top trainers for our golden anniversary.

One group of honorees that will get special recognition are those that competed in a race in 1963 at Roosevelt Raceway. Ebby Gerry, Jr., Dot Haughton, Andy Grant, Jr., Max C. Hempt, Norman Woolworth, Ira Kristel, Bob Baumann and Jud Pearson took to the track during the Long Island County Fair and made history in the first amateur race ever contested at Yonkers or Roosevelt. They will all receive the Amateur Pioneer Award.

Among the top honorees for 2007 are Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, who will be recognized with the Clyde Hirt Good Guy Award, while Stephane Bouchard is the Driver of the Year and Jordan Stratton is our Rising Star Award winner.

The Banquet is open to the public. Tickets, at $100 each, are available by calling Dave Little at 212-210-1691.

More on Rooney Tim Rooney

Mr. Rooney was driving force behind the Greater Westchester County Fair and Exposition, which was instituted in 1981 as the first complete county fair in the New York metropolitan area in more than 30 years. The Westchester event had then burgeoned into one of the largest county fairs in the East. The last year the fair was held was in 2002. It was discontinued in due to the start of construction at Yonkers Raceway.

Active in many community-oriented programs, Mr. Rooney has opened the raceway for charitable functions and fund-raising activities on numerous occasions, and has been the recipient of many awards for his community involvement.

Mr. Rooney had the honor of walking up 5th Ave on March 17th 2005 as the Grand Marshall of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Mr. Rooney was honored by the United Irish Counties Association of New York in 1975. He has honored by the United States Harness writers in 1979 and Man of the Year from the Standardbred Owners Assoc. of New York and New Jersey. In 1997 Mr. Rooney received the Terence Cardinal Cooke Award at the NYC CYO Annual Club of Champions Dinner. In 1999 the Police Athletic League of Yonkers honored him as Man of the Year. He was honor at the first annual banquet of The Emerald Golf Society of New York. In 1999 he was also honored by the Westchester Sports Hall of Fame.

Mr. Rooney and his brothers have been honored by the American Ireland Fund in New York and Palm Beach. He received the Founders Award for his dedicated and commitment to the concern of Ireland and the American Irish presented by the American Irish of Westchester in 1977. In 1978 he received Irishman of the Year from the Police Emerald Society of Westchester. The National University of Ireland honored him in 1983. In 2004 the Knights of Saint Patrick honored Mr. Rooney with the Lifetime Achievement award.

Mr. Rooney, 70, is a 1961 graduate of Duquesne University, where he majored in finance and was a partner for 10 years with the investment banking house of Chaplin, McGuiness Company of Pittsburgh, an associate member of the New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange.

As well as being President of Yonkers Raceway, Rooney’s business credentials include the Presidency of Delta Electric, a Westchester County electrical contracting corporation. He also serves as a director of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Vice-President of the Palm Beach Kennel Club. He is also business manager of the family owned Shamrock Farm in Maryland which is one of the oldest horse breeding farm in Maryland. He is a director of the United States Trotting Association. He is a past director of the Ireland Fund. He also owns a stud farm in Co. Kildare, Ireland with the Dargan family. Timothy Rooney has bred Standard bred horses for over 40 years and is still currently breeding and training them.

Mr. Rooney and his wife June have five children: Kathleen Mara, Margaret Galterio, Timothy, Jr., Bridget Koch, and Cara Moore and 18 Grandchildren and one (1) Great Grandchild.

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