For Michael Dubb, few experiences in racing compare to the satisfaction of joining another of his horses in the winner’s circle after a stakes win at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park or Saratoga Race Course.
But that doesn’t begin to match the feeling that Dubb, a thoroughbred owner and Long Island developer, derives from his real calling at the track: putting together daycare centers that benefit the children of backstretch workers.
“There isn’t anything I’d trade in racing for the smiles and success that our daycare center at Belmont Park has had with children who have passed through its doors with a firm foundation under them,” said Dubb, who serves as a New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) board member and is the founder and chairman of the Belmont Child Care Association (BCCA). “That’s why we’re so proud of what we’re doing in Saratoga, which will continue to improve the lives of backstretch families.”
Dubb refers to the scheduled opening this summer of BCCA’s new childcare center for the backstretch community at Saratoga Race Course. The 4,300-square-foot facility going up inside Gate 16, a furlong or two from the Oklahoma training track, is being funded by Dubb and his wife, Lee. It will be called Faith’s House in honor of Mr. Dubb’s late mother, Faith; and completes the circle of having child care during the summer meet at Saratoga and year-round at Anna House.
The Saratoga facility will provide child care and early education programs for infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children of backstretch workers, and the children of trainers and front-side NYRA employees. Faith’s House will complement BCCA’s sister childcare center Anna House, which Dubb built and opened in 2003 for families of the Belmont Park backstretch.
“All working parents deserve to know that their children are being cared for in a safe, healthy and enriching environment during the workday,” said Dubb. “We are thrilled to extend this important program to the hardworking families of the Saratoga backstretch community, who provide a vital service to the racing community.”
The anticipated summer opening coincides with the annual summer meet at Saratoga Race Course, which brings approximately 950 backstretch workers and their families to the Spa. The opening of the new center is contingent upon licensing approval from New York State and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.
Dubb’s passion for the track kicked in early. In 1973 at the age of 17, he was a self-described “misfit,” a recent high school graduate who spent much of that summer shuttling back and forth to Saratoga Race Course in the van he used for his landscaping business. At night, he and his friends slept on the floor of the van to save a few dollars.
In the mid-1980s, Dubb worked with a bank, which was using his landscaping service, to finance the development of some lots in East Meadow, Long Island. He became a builder and business grew rapidly. Today, Dubb’s Beechwood Organization ranks at the forefront of privately-owned residential homebuilders nationwide. Since 1985, Dubb, now working with his son Steven, has built more than 7,500 homes in 60 communities across the New York metro area with new ones on the map in New York City, Long Island and Saratoga.
Dubb credits retired Hall of Fame rider Jerry Bailey, who he knows from playing tennis, with generating the idea of creating a facility at Belmont Park where the children of backstretch workers could go while many of their parents were at the track, often working long hours. Meeting with NYRA officials, Dubb secured the land, an acre just inside Gate 6, and funded a large portion of the building of Anna House, which he named for the daughter of racehorse owner and generous donor Eugene Melnyk.
It was around then that Dubb also became an owner. Though Dubb calls owning racehorses a hobby, he devotes time most evenings to his stable with the same commitment and attention to detail that he uses in running his business. “I look at each horse I own as an individual investment,” he said. “But I look at all the horses I own as a stock portfolio. Underperformers are moved along and there is a constant push to upgrade the portfolio.”
That philosophy has paid off handsomely. The winner of seven year-end NYRA owner titles, Dubb has campaigned some memorable horses, including Eclipse Award-winners Monomoy Girl, British Idiom and Uni. Another of Dubb’s horses to wear his stable colors of yellow with a pink rose and pink cap was Condo Commando, winner at Saratoga of the 2014 Spinaway, the final race called by Tom Durkin.
It’s at Saratoga where the Dubbs and the BCCA team look forward to cutting the ceremonial ribbon at Faith’s House.
“This new facility fulfills a dream that the BCCA has been working on for over 10 years,” said BCCA President Libby Imperio. “We are so excited to bring a winning formula in child care to Saratoga and forever grateful to Michael and Lee for their leadership in making it happen.”
Learn more about Anna House, visit www.belmontchildcare.org/anna-house
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Faith’s House (NYRA Press Office)