Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Nurse Doris

I was excited to see a little story today in Newsday about a long-time, repected backstretch employee. Unfortunately, instead of a feel good piece, they had to throw in the 1988 death of Mike Venezia on the track. The author, Mr. Bernstein, could have gone a million ways with this short acknowledgement of a remarkable woman, but like most of the media, he chose to characterize horse racing with a negative example. It ends up being another punch in the face by Belmont Park's hometown newspaper and a missed opportunity to showcase "Nurse Doris". At least there is a nice photo with Chavez, Castellano, Hill and Dominguez.

Photo Credit: Dave Sanders - Newsday

Nurse has patched up jockeys for 50 years
January 4, 2010 by JAMES BERNSTEIN / james.bernstein@newsday.com

She is known as Nurse Doris, and after 50 years of working at Aqueduct and Belmont racetracks, she really needs no further identification.

But for the record, she is Doris Glier, 84, and she is celebrating her 50th year working at the two racetracks, taking care of jockeys who fall off horses or otherwise get injured in the course of their jobs.

"I'm not an unusual person," Nurse Doris, who lives in Rockville Centre, said last week. "The only unique thing is I'm 84 and I'm still working."

She began working for the New York Racing Association in 1959, retired in 1995, but was immediately hired by a private company that contracts with the NYRA, so she barely missed a day's work.

Why keep working? Nurse Doris said she wants to help out her three grandchildren with their college tuition. And, she said, she has another reason as well: "I'm a

Nurse Doris remembers good and bad times over the years. She vividly recalls the day in 1988 when Michael Venezia, a 43-year-old jockey who was planning to retire, died of massive head injuries when he was kicked by a horse after a spill in the fifth race at Belmont Park. "He came in [to the nursing station] but he was already dead," Nurse Doris said.

"But there were lots of happy memories," she said. "Years ago, it was like one big family. But it's still good. I'm like everybody's mother."

Nurse Doris does not bet on races, she said. Someone once placed a bet for her. The name of the horse? Believe In Doris. It won.


Teresa said...

I swear that she took care of me when I was sick on Belmont Stakes day 2006. She was amazing.

Ernie said...

I have to think about this one (the Venezia reference). I get your point - maybe the story needed to be longer; the brevity of the piece makes the horror of Venezia more salient


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