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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


According to a TVG report, a partial list of tracks scheduled to resume racing, in chronological order:

MAY 14: Golden Gate Fields; Charles Town

MAY 15:  Santa Anita (pending approval from County Health Department; proposed special protocols include jockeys to live on the grounds in temporary special housing)

MAY 16: Churchill Downs

MAY 22: Ruidoso Downs

MAY 31: Mountaineer Park

JUNE 14: Indiana Grand

JULY  6: Monmouth Park

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9 Responses

  1. John, Monmouth is scheduled to begin on Friday, July 3.

    My NYRA plan -outlined elsewhere in these pages – remains unchanged. Race at Belmont first, move the 40 Saratoga dates to Aqueduct and race live at Saratoga (24 days) from 9/4 – 10/4, with fans finally in attendance. Open the Saratoga Race Course grounds for simulcasting in July and August. You have to start somewhere and the careful opening of top attractions – like The Old Spa – is my chosen return path to normalcy.

  2. I’m OK with most, Richard, but don’t see opening for simulcasting with no live racing making economic sense. What’s the attraction when you can bet on your phone or computer?

    Further, six feet between patrons on betting lines, issue of safety for mutuel clerks, concession workers, etc? Don’t know but probably doesn’t make sense for NYRA. That Fall Spa idea is interesting, though…

  3. John, the key word to Saratoga July-August simulcasting is activity. We want to do something outside. I would much rather play races in an outstanding environment like Saratoga Race Course rather than simply bet and watch from home. It’s one very small step to returning to a pre-pandemic lifestyle.

    Naturally, we would have to be extra-careful with distancing, but we’ve already had months of practice. Plus, how many fans would Saratoga simulcasting attract? Probably enough to make it a worthwhile, profitable investment for NYRA, without attracting anywhere near a huge Whitney or Travers Day type of audience. The entire Saratoga Springs business community stands to benefit. Besides, how many perfect outdoor plans will we have until this virus is vanquished?

    1. I feel you Richard, I do. Lived on Union Ave. for 14 years so I understand.

      But I also understand there’s a casino and a harness track on the same street a half mile up the road. What are your plans for those interests?

      How about we put a couple of SAMS in Siro’s backyard and do it that way? My only focus at the moment is bringing racing back to Belmont Park…

  4. It seems foolish to be even talking about Saratoga now. The NYRA needs to get Belmont open and at least show an interest in horse racing that seems to be missing. Where is O’Rourke? How does this guy still have his job? By this time Saturday there will be racing in Florida, Kentucky, and California but no New York? Seriously? NYRA needs much better management.
    In addition, I don’t see the point in having a Saratoga meet with no people present. Just run through the summer at Belmont or until attendance becomes permissible.

  5. Your focus is dead-on, John. You have to get Belmont Park racing first or the rest of my points become moot.

    I live 200 miles South of Union Avenue but I have gotten to know and love the Saratoga Springs area immensely over the last 35 years. My goal is to bring some people into the area, not overload a community that will likely be ill-prepared to take the usual Summer crowd. Simulcasting at Saratoga Race Course would become the equivalent of opening a County or State Park with the added benefits of a crowd pushing their wagering dollars through the windows on the NYRA racing product. NYRA has to benefit from some betting on track at Saratoga rather than none. Maybe you get 10,000 or 15,000 fans at Saratoga – tops – while the major Saratoga races are being conducted downstate. Certainly, the Spa simulcast crowd would be limited to, maybe, 1/3 of the full house on a typical Travers Day.

    The casino at the harness track brings up different issues because its business is strictly conducted indoors. Given limitations, however, the harness track, casino, hotels, restaurants and Broadway shops could handle somewhere between 25-50% of their usual patrons.

    The whole idea here is to keep the Saratoga business community from losing tens of millions in revenue this Summer while safely restoring some of the activities that have offered such great entertainment for so many years. Spa July-August simulcasting, coupled with a shortened live racing season, beginning September 4, is worthy of the Winners Circle, in my opinion.

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