NYRA and TVG to Donate $410,000 to Support COVID-19 Relief


Sarah Andrew

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and TVG have announced a series of COVID-19 relief donations for a broad spectrum of non-profit organizations working to support the Thoroughbred racing community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $410,000 in charitable contributions will be distributed to seven non-profit organizations including the New York Chapter of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America (NYRTCA), the Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T), the Belmont Child Care Association (BCCA), the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC), the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program (RTIP), the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund (PDJF) and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA).

“The racing industry has rallied in incredible ways in response to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kip Levin, CEO of TVG. “The entire TVG team is grateful that our partnership with NYRA will benefit these great organizations who do so much every day to help those in need.”

NYRA and TVG created the relief fund in the spring of 2020 to proactively respond to the myriad challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the 54-day suspension of live racing in New York, the closure of casinos across the state and the continued lack of on-track attendance at all racetracks in New York.

“These organizations are all longtime partners of NYRA who have performed outstanding and oftentimes heroic work throughout the pandemic,” said NYRA President and CEO David O'Rourke. “Our thanks to TVG for recognizing the importance of the services they provide to the men and women who sustain the sport here in New York.”

As a result of the success of the joint effort between NYRA and TVG, the NYRTCA, B.E.S.T and the BCCA, whose work is devoted to the overall health and well-being of New York's backstretch community, will each receive donations of $100,000.

In addition, $30,000 each will be donated to the RMTC and the RTIP with $25,000 going to both the PDJF and the TAA.

In early March, NYRA established the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan Committee, comprised of key NYRA staff members as well as representatives from the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA), B.E.S.T, and the NYRTCA. Working together, the committee developed and implemented health and safety protocols aligning with the most updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the New York State Department of Health.

Representatives of B.E.S.T, NYRTCA and BCCA set up food banks, distributed masks, provided up-to-date communications on health care, worked as translators and collected and even distributed gift cards for groceries for the hundreds of Belmont-based backstretch workers and their families. They also created more virtual learning opportunities and at-home instruction for the children of backstretch workers enrolled in Anna House, the childcare and early education facility at Belmont Park, along with performing hundreds of other tasks that will never be recorded.

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