Thursday, March 12 2009
Father Francis Ciani, a Roman Catholic priest who was one of the biggest fans of New York racing, died at Our Lady of Mercy Life Center in Guilderland, N.Y. on March 7. He was 95.
A regular on the backstretch and on the front side at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga, “Father Quinella” was a beloved man who listed God, family and country as his priorities. Racing was a close fourth.
Friday, March 06 2009
NYRA NOW ON SIRIUS RADIO TO DEBUT SATURDAY, MARCH 7
NYRA Now, a half-hour Sirius Radio show dedicated exclusively to Thoroughbred racing at the New York Racing Association’s Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, will debut Saturday, March 7 from 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. Eastern.
Hosted by Dave Johnson and Bill Finley, NYRA Now will air on Sirius Channel 122 and XM Channel 143 and will be available to 20 million Sirius XM subscribers. It will offer handicapping, interviews with owners, trainers and jockeys and feature segments.
Friday, January 30 2009
NYRA Files Statement with MTA on “Belmont Special” Train Service
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today sent a brief statement to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) reiterating its opposition to the proposed elimination of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) “Belmont Special” train service (except for Belmont Stakes Day) which the MTA recently announced as part of a series of proposed fare increases and service cuts.
At an MTA public hearing on its proposed changes held on Jan. 21, 2009, two NYRA representatives, joined by a New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association board member and eight civic leaders provided oral statements in opposition to the planned suspension of rail service to Belmont Park.
Sunday, January 25 2009
UNITED FRONT AGAINST proposed Belmont Park transit cut
As part of a plan to cut expenses throughout its bus, train and subway system, New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has proposed eliminating Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) service to Belmont Park, except for Belmont Stakes Day, Saturday, June 6.
Wednesday evening, during a public hearing at Garden City, Long Island, speakers from the state’s racing industry and Belmont Park’s surrounding communities voiced their opposition to the elimination of the “Belmont Special.”
Friday, January 23 2009
NYRA OUTPERFORMS THOROUGHBRED INDUSTRY IN 2008
While the nation’s Thoroughbred racing industry as a whole slumped last year because of the economic downturn, the New York Racing Association saw only modest business declines.
The all-sources handle on NYRA races from Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course went from $2,543,796,141 in 2007 to $2,489,276,587 last year, a 2.1 percent decline, while the daily average wagering on NYRA races from all sources fell 3.7 percent, from $10,382,841 to $9,997,095.
Friday, January 16 2009
‘ON THE RECORD’ BRINGS FANS CLOSER TO NYRA’S HISTORY MAKERS
The New York Racing Association launched a new series today on its YouTube Channel today called `On the Record,’ the purpose of which will be to bring fans even closer to the men and women that contribute to the most storied circuit in Thoroughbred racing.
The series will profile trainers that have made significant contributions to the sport at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. Initial interviews will feature:
Saturday, December 06 2008
NYRA 2009 STAKES SKED FEATURES PURSE BUMP TO 13 GRADE 1 RACES
The New York Racing Association, host to the greatest number of Grade 1 Thoroughbred races in North America, will raise the purses on 13 of them offered at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course in 2009. The hikes are part of the 2009 NYRA Stakes Schedule, which was approved by NYRA’s Board of Directors at its monthly meeting on Wednesday. It now awaits approval from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
The total value of the 2009 NYRA Stakes schedule for 177 stakes races is $34,765,000, of which $28,780,000 is for 113 graded stakes races (40 Grade 1 races, 41 Grade 2 races and 32 Grade 3 races). This includes $350,000 for three steeplechase races: the Grade 2, $100,000-added A.P. Smithwick and the Grade 1, $100,000 New York Turf Writers’ Cup at Saratoga, and the Grade 1, $150,000 Lonesome Glory during Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet.
Thursday, November 13 2008
HALL OF FAMER H. ALLEN JERKENS RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL
Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens’ first order of business after being released Wednesday morning from Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation Center was to visit his barn at Belmont Park.
“He came home, and said, ‘I’d like to see the horses’,” said his wife, Elizabeth. “We drove him to the barn and he sat on the bench outside, and they brought out every single one of the horses for him.”
Thursday, November 06 2008
Business Trends mixed at Belmont Fall Meet
The 37-day 2008 Belmont Fall meeting, which ended on October 26, produced mixed business results. All-sources handle on NYRA races was $356.3 million, versus the equivalent 2007 figure of $346.5 million, for an increase of 2.8 percent. As the 2008 meet included four more days than the 2007 meet, there was actually an 8.3 percent decline in the equivalent daily average all-sources handle figure. However, that decrease does represent an improvement over the approximately 10.2 percent all-sources handle decline registered during the 2008 Saratoga meet.
“The decline in all-sources handle at the Fall Belmont Park Meet was disappointing but consistent with national wagering trends,” said Charles Hayward, NYRA president and CEO. “There is no question that the economic climate in New York and around the country has had a negative impact on our live handle as well as the New York State Off-Track Betting Corporations and other simulcast customers.”
Friday, October 31 2008
NYRA JOINS WITH COMMUNITY GROUPS FOR ELMONT CLEANUP DA
Local community groups, backstretch workers, church organizations and employees of the New York Racing Association will be teaming up on Saturday, November 8 in the first Elmont Cleanup Day.
Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, Town of Hempstead Councilman Ed Ambrosino, and Nassau County Legislator John Ciotti are among the government officials scheduled to launch the cleanup effort, set to begin at 10 a.m., rain or shine. With Belmont Park’s Marquee Tent serving as operations base, groups of volunteers will work together to beautify the stretch of Hempstead Turnpike that runs east from the Cross Island Parkway past Meachem Avenue. In addition to tee-shirts for each volunteer and signage prominent throughout the surrounding communities, NYRA is providing buses to transport the workers to six locations on both sides of the road.
Monday, October 27 2008
ALTESSE GETS JOB DONE IN TURBACK THE ALARM
By Francis LaBelle Jr.
It took a year and the patience of both owner Helen Alexander and Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey to make Altesse a graded stakes winner, but the plan finally came to fruition on Sunday afternoon when the 5-year-old A.P. Indy mare dug in on the rail to defeat favored Spring Waltz by a neck in the 14th running of the Grade 3, $107,600 Turnback the Alarm Handicap for fillies and mares at nine furlongs. The race was the feature on the closing day of the 2008 Belmont Park Fall Championship Meet. Racing will resume on Wednesday with the Opening Day of the Aqueduct Fall Meet. First race post is 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 26 2008
KODIAK KOWBOY TURNS PAGE, EYES HILL ‘N’ DALE CIGAR MILE
By Francis LaBelle Jr.
Fox Hill Farm’s and Vinery Stables’ favored Kodiak Kowboy took the long way home Saturday afternoon under jockey Gabriel Saez, but was horse enough for the journey has he put in a big finish to win the 56th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Sport Page Handicap by a length and three-quarters over Eternal Star.
The seven-furlong sprint for three-year-olds and up was co-featured with the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Handicap on an abbreviated seen-race Belmont Park card, as the rest of the day was devoted to simulcasting of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships from Santa Anita. Sunday will mark the final day of Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet, with racing resuming on Wednesday, October 29 at Aqueduct Racetrack