Many questions remain over fan capacity at Saratoga this year | WNYT.com

Many questions remain over fan capacity at Saratoga this year

Mark Mulholland
Updated: May 19, 2021 08:06 PM
Created: May 19, 2021 02:11 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS – It's less than two months until Saratoga Race Course opens. The lingering question remains over how many people will be allowed in the track this summer.

Even the people who run the track want to know.

The 2020 Saratoga racing season was so quiet you could hear the horses thundering down the stretch. No fans allowed in made for an eerie feeling.

Just across Nelson Avenue, it was also quiet at the typically popular Horseshoe Inn, where without the track and with customers required to stay seated, business was off 80%. That wasn't sustainable for owner Charlie Hoertkorn and his partner.

He says they've put in well over six figures of personal savings just to stay afloat and keep people employed.

RELATED: SPAC plans for socially distanced summer with masks

Hoertkorn needs the state to relax the six-foot social distancing rule, and he needs the track to welcome back big crowds in order to survive.

However, the news coming from the state offers a glimmer of hope.

Based on the 33% capacity rule as of May 19, NYRA says they can have at least 15,000 people at the track, and expect it to be even more when the track opens on July 15.

Learn about some of the screening measures being put in place, and what options are being considered for the picnic area by watching the video of Mark Mulholland's story.


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