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Starr has been "putting together" Yonkers races since early 1976 after serving an apprenticeship under both Ed Parker and Richard O'Donnell. Of course, at that time, New York-area racing alternated, with three-month stays at Roosevelt Raceway and Yonkers.

Before leaving and turning over the big chair to assistant Bob Miecuna, Starr looked back.

"When I first started,we had classified racing, A, B, C, and paper eligibility, so the race office had more control," he said. "It was in the early 1990's that we went to condition racing.

"It became easier. The horses classify themselves and you don't have to be as observant."

Ask Starr about his favorite horsemen and you get names such as Buddy Gilmour ('Straight shooter. Would give you the shirt off his back and the shoes off his feet.'), Lucien Fontaine and Ted Wing 'Professionals'.

"I didn't have a problem with anyone as long as they were good to talk to and had nothing to hide," he said. "Maybe it's me, but I think the horsemen worked harder back then. Today, there seem to be three times as many trainers, owners and drivers, so we see a lot more people."

Starr spoke fondly of the Rooneys, whose ownership of the Raceway essentially spanned his time as racing secretary.

"I can't say enough good things about former YR president Tim Rooney, former general manager Bob Galterio and the family. They allowed me to do my job, paid me a good salary and I was able to get married and raise my own family.

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