NYRA moves forward with plans for 40-day Saratoga racing meet | WNYT.com

NYRA moves forward with plans for 40-day Saratoga racing meet

Mark Mulholland
Updated: April 27, 2020 07:35 PM
Created: April 27, 2020 04:58 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - The odds appear to be in Saratoga's favor that racing will return this year, but chances are it could look much different.

The New York Racing Association has contingency plans for holding live racing at Saratoga beginning July 16, that according to sources, run the gamut from fans being allowed, to a limit on fans, to no fans at all, like other tracks around the country have been doing.

NYRA isn't talking about the scenarios, but they're confirming they fully intend to race here.

Spokesman Pat McKenna said by email Monday, "While we're monitoring current conditions and consulting with the Department of Health and the Gaming Commission, we are planning for Saratoga to open as scheduled and run in its entirety across the 40-day meet."

McKenna continued, "We're working in earnest each and every day to prepare for the 2020 Saratoga season."

New York's Thoroughbred Breeders are also urging the state to allow racing to reopen.

"Many small owners and breeders...are on the brink of bankruptcy. The only way we can keep them in business...is opening racing at New York's historic tracks," wrote Jefffrey Cannizzo, the organization's executive director. "So we need NYRA up and running as soon as possible with the proper safety and health protocols in place, consistent with the Governor's un-pause strategy."

Sources tell NewsChannel 13 that it's not out of the question for Saratoga to open without fans and then to allow them in if restrictions are loosened later this summer.

The business community is watching carefully.

"So we have some incredible advantages in terms of rebuilding our tourism economy quickly this summer if that's what we have to do," said Todd Shimkus, president and CEO of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.

NYRA has given a detailed plan to the state on how they propose to go about reopening, but they're not making their plans publicly available.


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