Backstretch Employee Service Team
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Email: paul@bestbackstretch.org

Phone: (516) 488-3434 ext. 103

Registered Charity: EIN 11-2976735

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Caring for the people who care for the horses

OUR MISSION

BEST is a nonprofit organization that is devoted to meeting the health and social welfare needs of the several thousand barn area ("backstretch") workers of the Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga racetracks by providing on-site counseling and primary healthcare services, access to health insurance, and case management assistance.​

30 Years of Support

OUR VALUES

Quality of care

BEST is committed to providing

backstretch workers with the highest standard of care and medical expertise, empowering them to live healthy and well.

Respect

Honesty

Community

BEST makes the individualized needs of the backstretch workers our top priority, always taking their wishes, rights, and traditions into consideration.

BEST performs our work with the highest regard for personal dignity and professional ethics.

BEST facilitates connections 
among backstretch workers and the community at large, fostering a sense of belonging and
shared experience.

MEET OUR PEOPLE

Leadership

Paul Ruchames, LCSW

Executive Director

Nancy L. Underwood - MA

Saratoga Program Director 

Frank Caruso

Controller

The Team

Belmont

Francisco Barrera // Assistant Teacher 

Paola Cardenas // Benefits Coordinator

Stella Cardenas // Outreach Coordinator and Case Manager

Kristy Wong // Office Manager

Stephanie Garthwaite, LMHC, MSW// Substance Abuse Counselor

Sangreet Khanna, MD // Psychiatrist 

Gladys Llerena // Benefits Administrative Assistant

Juana Maria, MSW, CASAC // Substance Abuse Counselor

Vivian Muniz // Benefits Director

Victoria Palacios // ESL Teacher, and Citizenship Class Teacher

Luisa Garcia-Soler // ESL Teacher

Saratoga

Abigail Altu // Client Care Coordinator

Judy Beck, LCSW-R // Clinical Social Worker

Robert Dufort // Driver

Julio Pantoja, CASAC // Substance Abuse Counselor

Josephine Serravento // Dental & Vision Benefits Coordinator

Sheriza Serravento // Program Assistant and Special Events

Roger Sousa // Volunteer Coordinator

Board of Directors

Officers

Andrea Belfiore | Co-Chair

Executive Director, NYTHA

Jelena Alonso | Acting Co-Chair

Chief Accounting Officer, NYRA

Nicole Rudolph-Katz | Secretary

SVP, Corporate Risk Solutions 

Members

William Alempijevic | Member

Director of Business Development, NYRA

Chad Brown | Member

Horse Trainer

Jimmy Ferraro | Member

Horse Trainer

Leah Gyarmati | Member

Horse Trainer

Tom Durkin | Member

Retired Track Announcer  

We Need Your Support Today!