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This gala is off the bridle

Gala Chairpersons Gary Contessa (far right) and his wife Jennifer (center, seated) celebrating with friends during last year’s gala. Photo by Cathy Duffy and TR Laz.

Gala Chairpersons Gary Contessa (far right) and his wife Jennifer (center, seated) celebrating with friends during last year’s gala. Photo by Cathy Duffy and TR Laz.

— In 1977, Seattle Slew became one of 11 Triple Crown winners in history to have made his mark as a 4-year-old, a rarity amongst thoroughbreds that tend to be 2 or 3 years old when they race.

While the crowned horse died in 2001, his legacy lives on and his owners Sally and Dr. Jim Hill said they are proud to have him honored at the gala and glad of what CAPTAIN does for the community.

“I think it’s fantastic and very, very worthwhile. If kids don’t come along in good order and get straightened out when they start to go off the path in the wrong ways they become adults who continue that. So, I think to help kids and get them through those very difficult years when there are so many challenges … to have good support (in CAPTAIN) is fantastic,” said Sally Hill.

The Hills reside in Miami, Fla. and make the Capital Region their home from May through September in large part so that they can attend the Saratoga meet.

In its inaugural year the gala raised around $15,000. This year the event is expected to raise $50,000 for CAPTAIN, according to Executive Director Sue Malinowski. This year will also feature personal stories told by some who have been helped by the organization.

“We wanted to include the stories because people come out to support us but may not be able to connect or get a good personal flavor about us,” said Malinowski.

Tickets are $125 per person and $90 for those under 35. Artist Brian T. Fox will unveil an original oil painting of Seattle Slew set to be auctioned off.

Last year, CAPTAIN provided over 25,000 units of service, which is considered to be anything from a meal served to helping a family in a crisis situation. With more than three decades of service to the community, their program offerings continue to grow. For more information on the group and the gala, visit www.captainyfs.com.

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