The Monmouth Park Charity Fund hosted its 14th Annual Kentucky Derby Celebration on Saturday May 6, 2017 to a sold out crowd of over 370 guests at Blu Grotto’s beautiful outdoor garden on the historic grounds of Monmouth Park Racetrack, Oceanport, NJ.  This premier social event was sponsored by Ray Catena Auto Group and netted over $176,000 in funds for charity!  The party exemplified a true Derby Celebration, complete with simulcast wagering throughout the afternoon leading up to our special Horseshoe Raffle for the Kentucky Derby Race.

The Blu Grotto chef prepared specialty foods and hors d’oeuvres and the open bars featured specialty  mint juleps, famous Kentucky bourbon’s and Kentucky Race Day Ale’s.  Shoppers enjoyed a silent auction that included a trip to Cabo, Mexico and tickets to Hamilton on Broadway!  Rounding out the Kentucky Derby Celebration was the traditional male and female hat parade and contest!  Not only was the party not to be missed, but it netted over $176,000 in funds for local charity.

The event honored OceanFirst for their strong leadership and support to the needs of our community; Valerie Montecalvo, CEO of Bayshore Recycling Corporation as a nationally recognized philanthropic leader and personal champion in our community; the late Anthony Abbatiello as a Hall of Famer in the horse racing industry and a true National Hero; and the Tigger House Foundation, founded from a personal tragedy and transformed into a much needed resource for families suffering with addiction. 

In gratitude for their selfless service, we hosted a table of local military and veteran hero’s as our guests. 

 "Our annual Kentucky Derby Celebration is an exciting way to enjoy the Kentucky Derby while helping to raise funds for the many charities of Monmouth County who care for those in need in our community," stated Maureen Lloyd, Event Chair and President of Monmouth Park Charity Fund Board of Trustees.


When OceanFirst Bank opened its doors in 1902, our founders believed in supporting and growing our local community. Initially, the focus was to help neighbors realize the dream of owning a home. Now, more than a century stronger, we're still here today, helping fulfill those dreams and helping families with all of their financial needs during every stage of life.

Whether its home ownership, building a business, teaching children the value of saving, financing higher education, or planning for the future, our goal is to help all of our neighbors reach their goals. With our recent expansion, our footprint has grown much bigger. Now with branches and commercial lending offices located throughout Central and Southern New Jersey, our customers have convenient access to our team of OceanFirst banking experts.

At OceanFirst Bank, we also know that our greatest investment is in the people and businesses right here in our community. As part of an initial public offering in 1996, OceanFirst Foundation was created with the sole mission of providing financial resources to the charities that serve the people within our footprint. Today, the OceanFirst Foundation continues to give millions of dollars to non-profits throughout Central and Southern New Jersey. And, with our employee volunteer efforts and the support of the Foundation, OceanFirst Bank proudly promotes a higher quality of life in the neighborhoods we serve, proving our century-old commitment of putting YOU first.

Valerie Montecalvo

Valerie Montecalvo

Valerie Montecalvo, owner and CEO of Bayhore Recycling Corp, a NY/NJ WBE construction recycling facility on the waterfront in Woodbridge. A New Jersey native, Valerie heads up the most diverse and multifaceted operation of its kind on the East Coast. BRC’s Eco-Complex and Energy Campus has been affectionately coined the “Mega-Mall for Recycling.” Bayshore has been an award winning operation for many years and was recently recognized by ConAgg/ConExpo in Las Vegas for their work on local projects demonstrating the wise use of recycled materials. Sustainable NJ and the NJ League of Municipalities have named Bayshore Recycling Corp, “Outstanding Corporate Citizen.”

Valerie is a past President of the national, Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA). She also serves as a Trustee for The NJ Chapter of the Nature Conservancy; Clean Ocean Action, the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey and Monmouth Conservation Foundation. Twice named “A Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore; and Central & Southern NJ, Valerie has also been recognized by the NJ Chapter of Professional Women in Construction; and the Governor’s Conference for Women. She has led many panel discussions advocating for non-traditional roles for women in business. Valerie and her firm have graced the covers of magazines and have articles published in local newspapers including: Commerce Magazine, NJBIZ, Waste & Recycling News, C & D World Magazine, the NJ Star Ledger, Asbury Park Press and the Two River Times.

Most recently, Valerie was honored by the Leon Hess School of Business as the “2016 Business Leader of the Year Award” presented at Monmouth University. Organizations that have also feted Valerie are: March of Dimes, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Brookdale Community College, EarthShare NJ and the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development. Her leadership in environmental awareness, encouraging careers in the science/technology fields and general philanthropy to the surrounding communities is widely recognized. Valerie personally champions many charities as well as many area hospitals, athletic teams, schools, clubs, art centers and Veteran’s organizations. Valerie and her husband/partner Frank live on the Shrewsbury River in Highlands. They have two children; Nicole Montecalvo Oppelt, Chief Marketing Director, at Bayshore and owner of NE Occasion (a boutique event planning company), and Frankie, Chief of Field Operations, and an International, Champion Race Car driver.

Anthony Abbatiello

Anthony Abbatiello(1928-2017)

The late Anthony Abbatiello resided at Five Point Farm in Colts Neck and had been a major figure in the horse racing industry for nearly 65 years. Anthony, the son of Italian Immigrants from Staten Island, became a Standardbred horse trainer and driver and established the farm in 1954, building a home, a training track and paddocks for his trotters and pacers. The farm has given rise to many outstanding Standardbreds including million dollar winners Newt Lobell and Taurus Romeo.

A decorated war veteran, Mr. Abbatiello served in the Korean War. Rising to the rank of Captain, Mr. Abbatiello demonstrated courage under fire, receiving numerous commendations including the Combat Infantry Badge, Silver Star, The Bronze Star with Valor, Two Purple Hearts, The Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Campaign Ribbon with Four Battle Stars and the Korean Service Medal.

Off the track, for 28 years, Abbatiello served the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, both as co-founder and president. Due largely to his leadership, the SBOANJ has been a strong motivating force behind the success of harness racing in New Jersey. Mr. Abbatiello’s previous titles included: Chairman of the Board for the United States Trotting Association, Director of the Standardbred Owners of New York, Chairman of the New Jersey Sire Stakes Board of Directors, Trustee Chairman of the Board of the American Horse Council in Washington DC and trustee of the Trotting Horse Museum. Since 2005, Abbatiello had served as a member of the New Jersey Racing Commission, the regulatory body that oversees all horse racing in the state. In addition to his commitment to harness racing, he had served on the board of Managers at Rutgers University and the advisory committee of the Federal Land Bank.

Mr. Abbatiello’s distinguished career included numerous honors, including Harness Horse International Man of the Year, the New Jersey Horse Council's Horseman of the Year, the Clem McCarthy Good Guy Award, the NJ Sports Writers Association Harness Racing Man of the Year and a National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame Inductee. On July 2, 1995, Mr. Abbatiello was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY. With his brother, Carmine, a 1985 inductee, his induction resulted in the first brother tandem in the Hall of Fame.

While he no longer had racehorses at the farm, he still had five irrigation ponds stocked with fish. Several times a year Abbatiello invited special needs kids, as well as those battling cancer for a day in the country and a chance to fish for blue gills. He also did work on behalf of area charities and had organized a barn tour and wine tasting with the Colts Neck Business Association.

Anthony and his wife Kathleen (deceased) raised three daughters in Colts Neck –Jean (married to Craig) Sardoni, Christine (married to John) Whelan and Lisa (married to Jim) Locke. Abbatiello enjoyed and treasured spending time with his six grandchildren, Ava, Michael, Shane, Jack, Abigail and Ian.

Tigger House Foundation

Tigger House Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to achieving a positive impact by reducing the death rate of heroin and opiate addiction.

Tigger House Inc. was inspired by the devastating suffering and profound love of a family who lost their son and brother “Tigger” at 25 years of age to an accidental overdose. Tigger House Foundation is based in Monmouth County. Tigger grew up on the Jersey Shore where he went to school, was loved by many friends and family and lived a very full life.

Tigger's family is active as philanthropists in the community. They have courageously decided to honor their son and take a resolute stand to fight the raging opiate/heroin epidemic devastating our youth.

The most arduous and important undertaking of the Tigger House Foundation will be our ongoing commitment to establish a network of timely broad based information which will be disseminated to the community in all areas. The Foundation campaigns are designed to achieve our Mission: Achieving a positive impact by reducing the death rate of heroin and opiate addiction.

Opiate/Heroin Overdose and death among our youth has become the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Despite the constant barrage of information in the press, radio, internet, and TV – many do not know the signs and symptoms of opiate abuse. Many do not even know that their next door neighbor has lost a beloved child to addiction. IT IS TIME WE END THE SILENCE!!! Our efforts will include but not be limited to: a web-site; newsletter and educational outreach seminars taught by leading medical and addiction experts in the field. Please stop in to our already established offices. As we grow – more and more for you, the community, we will appreciate reciprocal community support. We welcome you to invest your time, your energy, your passion, and your spirit in our common goal: Achieving a positive impact by reducing the death rate of heroin and opiate addiction!