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Italian Day comes to Emerald Downs | Horse Racing

Italian Day is coming to Emerald Downs as the track honors the country of Italy on Sunday, July 22, with a daylong celebration of food, festivities and fun.

“Washington racing has a long history of participants with Italian heritage,” said Joe LaDuca, former Executive Editor of the WTBOA who is spearheading the inaugural Italian Day along with popular Thoroughbred owners Frank Parente and Luigi Di Pietro.

“Frank Lucarelli, for example, won the Emerald Downs training title last year and is first again this year,” LaDuca said. “The main goal, though, is to draw people together and have lots of fun.”

Italian cuisine, tarantella dancers, bocci ball, prize drawings and specialty Italian wines will paint Emerald Downs green, white and red throughout the day’s races, which begin at 2 p.m. and feature the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap for older horses in a final local tune-up  for the 77th Longacres Mile (G3).

Tony Ventrella, one of Seattle’s favorite broadcasters, will serve as honorary steward for the inaugural Italian Day, and the Johnny Lewis Combo will entertain with music throughout the afternoon.

Also, popular Buffalo chef and New York handicapper Sal Arena will be offering his long-awaited Italian cookbook, featuring 101 authentic Italian dishes, for sale. The $20 book is being offered to Emerald Downs’ patrons for just $16. Included will be a copy of his race selections for the day.

Italian Day is sure to be one of the season’s most enjoyable afternoons.

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