NYRA Releases Jockey Protocols for Aqueduct

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AqueductChelsea Durand

NYRA released its COVID-19 protocols Saturday for jockeys riding at the Aqueduct fall meet, which runs from Nov. 6 to Dec. 6. Members of the Aqueduct jockey colony who travel to ride at any other racetrack during the fall meet will be required to provide two negative COVID-19 tests taken within a five-day window in order to return to ride at Aqueduct. Jockeys traveling out of state who have completed the required testing will then be physically isolated in the jockey quarters for three additional calendar days.

Jockeys not currently riding at NYRA who wish to join the Aqueduct jockey colony for the beginning of the Aqueduct fall meet must contact NYRA’s Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Martin Panza or Aqueduct Racing Secretary Keith Doleshel by Wednesday, Nov. 11. Newcomers to the NYRA jockey colony will be required to provide two negative COVID-19 tests taken within the five-day window preceding that jockey’s first mount at Aqueduct.

In order to mitigate risk and reduce the spread of COVID-19, Aqueduct will be closed to out-of-town jockeys not considered members of the regular NYRA jockey colony. All testing must be performed in New York state.

In addition to race day safety protocols which include standard health screening and temperature checks, the jockey quarters at Aqueduct have been substantially altered to provide maximum social distancing and reduce density. All areas accessed by jockeys during the regular course of a race day are closed to outside personnel, including credentialed media, and are cleaned and disinfected throughout the day.

Jockeys are not permitted access to the barn area at Belmont Park. In order to work a horse in the morning, the jockey must meet the horse in the paddock and may then proceed to the main track for as long as the main track remains open.

Jockey agents arriving from outside of New York must produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to gain access to the barn area at Belmont Park. Races will continue to be drawn via Zoom.

All valets must provide a negative COVID-19 test taken any time after Nov. 2 in order to access the jockey quarters on opening day, Nov. 6. Valets who choose to only saddle horses in the paddock and not enter the jockey quarters will be allowed in the Belmont Park barn area.

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