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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


According to a reliable HRI source, New York racing has been granted permission to resume on June 1. Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed the story with an announcement during his televised daily briefing on the most recent Covid-19 developments.

We will disseminate further information when it becomes available throughout the day.


It was reported by Maggie Wolfendale on the Fox cablecast that racing will resume at Belmont Park on Thursday, June 4.

All Thoroughbred and Harness Tracks in New York State have been granted permission to resume racing

Following the end of today’s NBC’s rebroadcast of the 2015 Preakness Stakes today, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that Preakness 145 will be will run on Oct. 3.

“Under normal circumstances, I would be standing at Pimlico with (Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of The Stronach Group), presenting the Woodlawn trophy to the winner of the 145th Preakness Stakes,” Hogan said.

“But as we all know, these are not ordinary circumstance,” said the Republican governor.

“However, I am proud to make this announcement on behalf of the state, the Maryland Jockey Club, and Maryland’s historic racing industry that Preakness 145 will be held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. We look forward to celebrating with you soon.”

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25 Responses

  1. Great!

    So the Belmont Stakes can go on as scheduled on June 6. (Just kidding)

    Maybe NYRA can finally release what the late spring and summer (including the Spa) stakes schedule will look like.

  2. Well, before we see a schedule they will need to take horse and horsemen inventory for the less important stakes, which could include, say, a Grade 3.

    And, just guessing here, but can’t imagine Saratoga opening if fans will not be permitted.

    1. I’m so happy – I love Belmont!!

      I would imagine the Belmont Stakes would be run at the end of June….. I guess at a mile and an eighth. The mile and a quarter would start on the turn, right? Something they wouldn’t want, although it’s been done?

      1. Happy right with you, Bets, and I hate those mile and a quarter races that start on the turn.

        Apparently they just don’t want to keep up the long chute seldom used. But the fact they’re coming back is enough.

        1. John, it’s more dangerous for the horses when they start on the turn, right?

          I foresee a fantastic Belmont meet … and, since the Preakness is now to be run on October 3, the Belmont will be the first Classic… a one time only thing, it’s kind of cool!

          1. Also, do you agree that the Preakness will suffer because trainers won’t want to prep for the Classic in a race longer then the Classic? Which is why the Jockey Club Gold Cup was shortened?

          2. It is kinda’ cool in the Age of the New Normal. The question is what distance will it be run at? Belmont Park main track is so wide that at 1-1/14 miles on the turn, you can run straight a bit before turning left. I don’t like it because if by any chance it happens to be a large field the outside is extremely disadvantaged. I know Unbridled won from way out there but he’s been the exception

  3. Best to keep whatever covid-19 there is downstate downstate. Sure our neighbors to the north would agree.

  4. John: If the silence earlier this week was deafening, then the Governor’s announcement this afternoon was similar to the sounds heard when the Beatles played at Shea. Lets give tremendous credit to both NYRA and NYTHA. We can only hope that the common sense of purpose establishes a new reality between the track and the horsemen, as well as with their regulators in Albany.
    With regard to the Belmont Stakes, with Maryland’s announcement of an October 3rd Preakness, there is now no doubt that the Belmont will be the first TC race and that it will be held at a distance less than 12 Furlongs. For what its worth, my opinion is that it should be conducted at 10F, but at 1 turn. Back in the 70s, they ran 10F races through the training track. I was at Belmont for the 77 Suburban-10 F, one turn- when Forego, under 137 lbs ( we’ll never see that weight again), finished by the outside rail, while Quiet Little Table nailed him at the wire. It would be much fairer and the Belmont main track could easily accommodate 16-20 horses. In this year of the pandemic, there is no tradition, and lets hope that it is a One and Done!

    1. Fram, will do something on this in the Sunday column… And yes, let’s hope for common purpose given the new reality.

  5. Oops, John, forget my 2nd question. I have had a complete meltdown today whereby I messed up the Preakness and Gold Cup distances and just essentially sounded like an idiot ,lol.

    I think perhaps the Gold Cup might suffer with the Preakness attracting most of the best 3 year olds. It’s always nice to see the 3 year olds vs. their elders at this time of year.

  6. Hopefully we can now dispense with the allegations of genetic disposition by the Governor against NYRA. Can we also dismiss the idea of shortening the Belmont stakes?

    As the likely first leg of the 2020 Triple Crown it seems unlikely that fewer than a full field of 14 would contest the Belmont stakes regardless of the distance. Each would have been willing to attempt 12 furlongs had it previously won the Derby and Preakness in a normal year despite two grueling races in the previous 5 weeks.

    There will be more spacing between events as it is. No point in messing with the genetic disposition for distance. LOL

  7. I,
    Yes, I understand the longer spacing, but. As I mentioned mentioned, a shorter Belmont*, the asterisk Belmont, I believe will have to do this year.

  8. So Baffert gets to write conditions for races at Belmont?

    Coastal (1979), A.P. Indy (1992), Tonalist (2014) won the Peter Pan Stakes / Belmont Stakes double since I started betting Thoroughbreds. Scheduling the Peter Pan on the first Saturday in June and the Belmont on July 4 could both draw huge audiences.

    Baffert has indicated he will likely run Authenticate in the Santa Anita Derby, but perhaps one or both of his Arkansas, Travelers, Nadal and/or Charlatan, would show up in the Peter Pan, or maybe even a Met Mile co-feature.

    1. I,
      Not sure BB would find Peter Pan attractive if there are Grade 1s to come at or about 9 furlongs. And if I had these three year olds with the Derby as a prize, I wouldn’t go looking for older horses quite yet…

  9. The first leg of the Triple Crown is always a mile and a quarter. The faux Belmont could at least maintain that tradition, especially since it will be two months later than usual.

  10. TJ, I’m good with that, and I’m also good with 1-3/16s miles as an alternative trip. Guess it really depends on the date.

    You want to make the Belmont be the best race it can be, so maybe a tad shorter makes that easier. Let’s see how the schedule shakes out.

    Now this is the kind of “controversy” that the sport can live with!

    1. Pimlico must be thrilled to be the final leg of TC assuming fans are allowed to attend in October. Someone told me leaving Belmont on Belmont Stakes Day with American Pharoah was a nightmare it was so crowded. As Larry Colmus said, “A horse of a lifetime!”

      1. What I meant to say was that Pimlico would be happy if there was a horse going for TC in Preakness. Being held in October is not a reason to be thrilled if you compare to May. Also, a three year old in May does a lot of developing before October rolls around. They are actually closer to being four year olds. Any thoughts, JP?

        1. C, Just to keep the answer simple, older is better, by definition it’s safer because of added maturity and experience to handle the stress.

      2. That it was, I was there, took over an hour on Hempstead Tpke to get a cab which we had to share–and was lucky to find it. But it was quite a celebration, absolutely thrilling and chilling. Standing in the aisle next to the box seat I was lucky to get was Joe Torre, pretty cool…

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