Sources confirm Saratoga racing to begin July 11

February 03, 2019 02:44 AM

SARATOGA SPRINGS—Sources confirm that the Saratoga thoroughbred racing season will begin on July 11 this year, confirming what NewsChannel 13 reported exclusively in November. 

The racing dates are subject to state approval, but those with intimate knowledge of the situation are not aware of a time when the state has rejected NYRA’s proposed racing dates.

The 2019 season will run from Thursday, July 11, through Labor Day, with no racing on Mondays (with the exception of Labor Day) and Tuesdays. The second dark day will be added this year to keep the racing days to 40 all together.

Opening weekend for the 2019 Saratoga season will come at the same time Dave Matthews Band is performing its popular weekend concerts at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, which will likely mean that racing fans and music fans will compete for hotel rooms.

Two veteran trainers tell News Channel 13 that they have not yet been apprised of the upcoming schedule, but would like to know as soon as possible so they can make arrangements for housing, etc for themselves and some of their staff.

A NYRA spokesman sent the following statement to News Channel 13 Saturday afternoon: 

 “We understand the urgency in announcing the dates for the 2019 Saratoga racing calendar. This matter is a complex issue that transcends NYRA and involves multiple partners. We anticipate that we will be in a position to announce the 2019 Saratoga dates within the near future. We appreciate the patience of our horsemen, fans and the community.”

"It's going to be a huge increase in business. That extra weekend of NYRA being here is huge," James Commer, the owner of James and Sons Tobacconists said. 

"So the local crowd of people who live here--will they be a little bothered by the extended crowds for a few more weeks? Perhaps," the Adelphi Hotel's Director of Restaurants Patrick Tommey said. "But I think in general for the town, for the local residents, for the businesses, it is a big win." 

Steve North, a Saratoga Springs resident, says he expects mixed reaction to the added crowds. He also added that 40 days of racing seems right to him. "If it takes up the whole summer, then it will not be the summer place to be, it will be the only place to be in the summer. So, I would stick with 40."

Starting the Saratoga season earlier is being driven by plans for a major stadium construction project adjacent to Belmont Park. 


Mark Mulholland

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