Saratoga Race Course will open for spring training at 6 a.m. Saturday, Apr. 17, the New York Racing Association announced Friday. The barn area at the Oklahoma Training Track will open to horsemen Thursday, Apr. 15.
To accommodate the completion of a major renovation of the Oklahoma Training Track facility, training will begin on the main track at Saratoga Race Course.
When training resumes at the Oklahoma in early May, horses and riders will be met with a completely reconstructed track featuring a limestone base, renovated surface layer and modernized drainage systems. In addition, the training track has been widened by 10-14 feet in most areas to address the increasing population of horses training over the Oklahoma annually from April-October.
Additionally, to enhance safety for exercise riders and jockeys, the inner rail at the Oklahoma has been replaced with a rider protection system designed by Horsemen's Track and Equipment.
“The Oklahoma Training Track renovation is an investment in the future of Saratoga Race Course that reflects NYRA's commitment to providing our athletes with the safest possible environment for training and racing,” said Glen Kozak, NYRA Senior Vice President for Operations and Capital Projects. “The Oklahoma is a special place in our sport, and these improvements will serve horses, riders and the racing community well for many decades to come.”
The renovation of the Oklahoma Training Track was modeled after the work that was done to the Saratoga main track in 2020.
“Track surfaces at Saratoga need to stand up to a wide variety of weather conditions, including incredibly intense storms that can hit with almost no warning,” Kozak continued. “The main track can now recover from these weather events much more quickly while retaining consistency from day to day. We are confident the result will be just as positive on the Oklahoma as we have seen on the main track.”
Dr. Mick Peterson and the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory (RSTL) served as consultants on the Oklahoma renovation, performing regular testing of the quality and composition of the new surface.
“NYRA prioritizes the scientific analysis and continuous data collection that have proven to result in consistent racing surfaces,” Dr. Peterson said. “It's a privilege to work on these types of transformative projects with the world class NYRA team led by Glen Kozak.”