Dave O'Rourke

Breeders' Cup at Belmont? No Timetable, But Edging Closer to Reality

The topic of Belmont Park hosting the Breeders' Cup resurfaced again Monday with the public release of a letter from Breeders' Cup executives to the New York Racing Association (NYRA) to "reaffirm the strong desire" to return the event to Belmont "as soon as the potential infrastructure projects we discussed are complete." That undated letter, which was attached as part of a Nov. 7 pro-Breeders' Cup press release issued by the "We Are NY Horse Racing" coalition of small businesses, labor unions, non-profits, and trade associations, did not include any...

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Offerman Named NYRA VP, GM of Operations

Andrew Offerman, who has served Canterbury Park in Minnesota as its senior vice president of racing operations for the last five years, has been appointed to the newly created role of vice president and general manager of operations for the New York Racing Association (NYRA). Offerman, who will assume his new responsibilities beginning Nov. 11, will oversee front-side operations at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga. "Andrew is a seasoned executive and proven leader who will bring considerable skills to the talented team we have assembled at NYRA," said Dave O'Rourke, NYRA...

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Sun Sets on Record-Breaking Saratoga Season

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY-With a five-word quip, New York Racing Association president and CEO Dave O'Rourke provided plenty of context about the record-setting 154th season of racing in Saratoga. "It didn't rain much, huh?" O'Rourke said. Indeed. Though the 40-day meet concluded Monday on cool, dark, sodden afternoon where jackets and umbrellas were needed, almost all of the programs at Saratoga Race Course were run on tracks listed as "fast" and "firm." When the final grass race of the closing day card was moved to the main track, it was just...

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NYRA CEO Dave O'Rourke Talks Winterizing Belmont On Writers' Room

It was announced last week that in order to properly renovate and reimagine Belmont Park for 2023 and beyond, the New York Racing Association would be shifting this year's fall meet at Belmont to Aqueduct, and Wednesday, NYRA CEO Dave O'Rourke joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland as the Green Group Guest of the Week to discuss the process and future ramifications of this major capital investment in Big Sandy. O'Rourke said that the main objective of the construction project is the building of two major tunnels to...

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Belmont Park Fall Meet to be Held at Aqueduct Racetrack

The traditional fall meet at Belmont will instead be held at Aqueduct and kick off Sept. 15, the New York Racing Association announced Thursday. It is anticipated that racing will return to Belmont for the 2023 spring meet. The switch to Aqueduct will allow NYRA to undertake the first phases of what could be a major renovation of Belmont Park. Tunnels have been constructed at Belmont that will give construction vehicles access to the infield. The tunnels will also pave the way for pedestrians to have access to the infield....

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NYRA In No Hurry To Change Triple Crown Set Up

Though he said NYRA is willing to be part of a dialogue involving changing the dates of the Triple Crown races, a hot topic since GI Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike (Keen Ice) opted out of the GI Preakness S., NYRA President and CEO Dave O'Rourke has made it clear that the racing organization has no immediate plans to sign off on proposals that would alter the status quo. "We are touching on tradition here," O'Rourke told the TDN Wednesday. "We are touching on the one thing that is sacrosanct...

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Belmont Stakes Tickets On Sale Feb. 10

Tickets for the 2022 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will go on sale Feb. 10 at 10 a.m. via Ticketmaster.com. Capacity for the June 11 Belmont Stakes card will be 50,000 fans. Fewer general admission tickets will be available for the festival following the construction of the UBS Arena, which reduced the size of the Belmont Park backyard. The capacity of Belmont Park is expected to expand in future years following the completion of a significant capital improvement project that will provide spectator access to the infield. In January, NYRA received...

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Master of Excuses or Victim of Vendetta? Caustic Baffert/NYRA Hearing Closes

Bob Baffert's five-day hearing on "detrimental conduct" charges levied by the New York Racing Association (NYRA) closed Friday with NYRA's attorney arguing that the Hall-of-Fame trainer has trashed the sport with such an unprecedented litany of medication violations that NYRA needs to be allowed to punish him, while Baffert's lawyer countered that the real extraordinary aspect of the case involves vendetta-based accusations that could result in draconian sanctions NYRA has never before attempted to impose upon any other trainer. "Bob Baffert is not a cheater," the trainer's attorney, W. Craig...

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Aqueduct to Re-Open to Fans Nov. 11

Aqueduct Racetrack will re-open to the public on Thursday, Nov. 11, opening day of the 2021 fall meet. Originally closed to fans during the height of the COVID-19 emergency in March of 2020, Aqueduct then became the site of a New York State mass vaccination center in January 2021. The vaccination center, which has distributed more than 300,000 COVID-19 inoculations to date, was a critical piece in the New York State led effort to quickly and efficiently vaccinate New Yorkers. The size and scope of the center, which occupied the...

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Live Racing at Belmont Park Extended Through Nov. 7

The Belmont fall meet, originally scheduled to conclude Oct. 31, will be extended to include three additional dates from Friday, Nov. 5 through Sunday, Nov. 7, it was announced Saturday. These dates were originally scheduled to be run at Aqueduct Racetrack as opening weekend of the Aqueduct fall meet. New York State is continuing to operate a COVID-19 mass vaccination site throughout the first floor of Aqueduct. As a result, the facility remains closed to the public. "NYRA is committed to supporting the ongoing effort to vaccinate New York, and...

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With Five Days Left In Meet, Saratoga Sets New Handle Record

At the completion of Wednesday's card, all-sources handle for the Saratoga meet stood at $709,437,410, which was enough to set an all-time handle mark for the historic race meet. After Wednesday, there were still five days left to the meet, which means the final handle number will shatter all records. The previous handle record was set in 2019, when $705,343,949 was wagered. With fans not allowed on-track last year due to COVID-19 concerns, the 2020 handle came in at $702.5 million. "The record-breaking handle numbers reflect the quality of racing...

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Spirited Debate On HISA Highlights Saratoga Conference

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY-To hear some, the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) is badly needed legislation that will right the ship for an industry that has gone badly off course when it comes to issues of horse safety, integrity and illegal drugs. To others, it is another example of big government wading into a sport where it doesn't belong, which will ultimately cause horse racing a lot more problems than it solves. There was little middle ground Monday as the HISA issue dominated day one of the Racing and...

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