Opening Weekend at Saratoga Race Course will run from Thursday, July 16 – Sunday, July 19, and under current New York State guidelines, spectators will not be allowed to attend. However, following updated guidance issued by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), starting Friday, July 17, a limited number of licensed horse owners will be permitted at the racetrack on the day their horse is scheduled to race.
What Horse Owners Need to Know
The announcement was made in a recent press release from the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA). According to the release, to help reduce density at Saratoga Race Course and adhere to social distancing guidelines, the size of the ownership group will be restricted to eight individuals in possession of a NYSGC license per horse.
Owners must submit an application to be permitted at the racetrack. No same-day applications will be accepted, as applications must be received 24 hours in advance of race day. The exception to the rule is this Friday, July 17.
The press release also notes, “Horses with identical ownership will be limited to 8 total admissions regardless of number of horses running that day.” All members of the ownership group will be subjected to health screening prior to entry (temperature check, etc.), and they will be required to practice social distancing and wear a facial covering while on the property.
Some of the other regulations include:
- Owners will not be permitted within any indoor areas at Saratoga Race Course, including the Clubhouse, Grandstand, and hospitality areas.
- Owners will be provided a socially-distanced outdoor seating area and may watch the races from the apron.
- Hours of access on race days will start at 12:00pm EST. You must enter via the Clubhouse entrance.
- Owners planning to travel to New York from any of the states listed on the New York Travel Advisory are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
- A limited number of licensed owners will be permitted within the barn area at the racetrack. To receive access, owners must provide NYRA with a negative COVID-19 test taken within 7 days of the request. Owner access ends at 11:20am, and you will not be permitted to watch live racing from the barn area.
“Health and safety are our primary focus as we continue to work with New York state officials to determine the potential for broader spectator access during the 2020 summer meet,” said NYRA President & CEO Dave O’Rourke in the press release. “To be able to allow the participation of a limited number of owners reflects the progress made in New York to reduce the rate of COVID-19 infection.”
Owner applications should be sent to NYRA’s Horsemen’s Relations Associate by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 516-488-6008. NYRA will confirm all reservations by email.