Dave O’Rourke

Saratoga Face Mask Campaign Raises $20K

Officials at the New York Racing Association (NYRA) presented a check in the amount of $20,000 to a handful of non-profit organizations, the result of a joint undertaking with the City of Saratoga Springs to raise funds via the sale of limited-edition Saratoga face masks. The campaign was launched in mid-June and reportedly met with a great deal of interest in the public. The funds will be distributed evenly between AIM Services, Inc.; Franklin Community Center; Shelters of Saratoga and the SNACpack Program (Saratoga Nutrition Assistance for Children). A portion...

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Stakes Schedule Set for Belmont Park Fall Meet

The New York Racing Association, Inc. has announced race dates for the 27-day Belmont fall meet, including 38 stakes worth $5.58 million in purse money, that will kick off Friday, Sept. 18 and run through Sunday, Nov. 1. Following opening weekend at Belmont, live racing will be conducted Thursday through Sunday with the exception of Columbus Day weekend, when live racing will be offered Monday, Oct. 12 and return Friday, Oct. 16. The Belmont Park fall meet has traditionally opened on the Friday following Labor Day. Due to the continued...

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NYRA Establishes New Jockey Safety Protocols and Travel Restrictions for Saratoga

The New York Racing Association Inc., (NYRA) has announced updated health and safety protocols to address the rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases among jockeys around the country. Until further notice, Saratoga Race Course will be closed to out-of-town jockeys. In addition, any member of the regular NYRA jockey colony who travels to ride at any other racetrack will not be permitted to return to Saratoga Race Course. "These measures prioritize the health and safety of the jockeys competing in New York, and are designed to combat the spread of COVID-19,"...

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Average Handle Increases at Belmont Spring/Summer Meet

Belmont Park's abbreviated Spring/Summer Meet generated $15,466,198 in average daily handle from all sources, a 42% increase over the 2019 spring/summer meet. Held over 25 days and without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the live meet marked the return of professional sports to the New York area and was conducted with strict health and safety protocols in place. "We would like to thank the horseplayers for their enthusiastic support of New York racing during this most unusual spring/ summer meet," said NYRA President and CEO Dave O'Rourke. "That we...

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NYRA to Highlight Non-Profit Organizations at Saratoga

The New York Racing Association, Inc. will celebrate the work of non-profit organizations by taking its Community Outreach Booth program online during the 2020 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course, which begins Thursday, July 16 and runs through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7. The Virtual Community Outreach Booth program will highlight a total of 40 non-profits throughout the season by sharing information about their work and fundraising initiatives at NYRA.com/community. "As we look ahead to a unique racing season, it is important to NYRA that we continue to highlight the...

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After 80-Day Absence, New York Racing Shines Again

The race was just a $20,000 maiden claimer, but the importance of the moment was not lost on Belmont track announcer John Imbriale, who welcomed racing back to New York Wednesday. "We can finally say...they're off and running at New York's Belmont Park," Imbriale called out as the field burst from the gate. And as Star of the West (Flashback) crossed the wire to win the opener, Imbriale once again recognized that this race was something special. "It's now official. New York sports is back and beautiful Belmont Park is...

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Belmont To Open June 3 With Reduced Stakes Schedule

Belmont will reopen June 3 for a 25-day meet with a stakes schedule that includes a number of purse cuts and the cancellation of several stakes traditionally run in the spring at the NYRA tracks. Spectators will not be allowed to attend the races throughout the spring season at Belmont. Following the opening week, racing will be held Thursdays through Sundays with closing day scheduled for July 12. "The resumption of live racing at Belmont Park June 3, with all appropriate health and safety protocols in place, will support the...

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Nine-Furlong Belmont To Be Run June 20

What has traditionally been the final leg of the Triple Crown will now be the first. The GI Belmont Stakes will be run June 20 at the distance of a mile and an eighth, NYRA announced Tuesday. In a year where the coronavirus has caused tracks across the country to scramble and adjust their racing calendars and stakes schedules, the Triple Crown, in order, will now consist of the June 20 Belmont, the GI Kentucky Derby Sept. 5 and the GI Preakness Oct. 3. "The Belmont Stakes is a New...

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NYRA Secures COVID-19 Antibody Testing for Employees and Backstretch Workers

The New York Racing Association, Inc. has partnered with Northwell Health to secure important COVID-19 antibody testing for NYRA employees and backstretch workers at Belmont Park. "We would like to thank Northwell Health for their commitment to expanding the availability of antibody testing across New York and right here at Belmont Park," said NYRA CEO and President Dave O'Rourke. "This broad testing program will provide additional insight allowing us to to more fully understand how COVID-19 has impacted our community. Going forward, this is a positive step in NYRA's overall...

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NYRA Delays Start of Belmont Meet

In a move that seemed inevitable, the New York Racing Association, Inc. announced Thursday that the opening of the Belmont Park spring/summer meet will be delayed due to the continuing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Highlighted by the 152nd running of the GI Belmont S. June 6, the 51-day Belmont Park spring/summer meet was originally scheduled to begin Apr. 24 and conclude July 12. "We are working closely with the New York State Gaming Commission and public health officials to determine a timeline for the resumption of live racing...

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On a Day of Turmoil for Sport, NYRA, Oaklawn, Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Announce Show Will Go On

On a day when racetracks around the world, including Keeneland, announced they would be shutting their doors due to the COVID-19 outbreak, NYRA, Oaklawn, Gulfstream and the Fair Grounds announced their intentions to continue racing. The decision by NYRA may have been the most surprising among the three as it came just hours after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a ban of gatherings of 50 people or more and that restaurants, bars, movie theaters and casinos must shut down. Aqueduct's next scheduled day of live racing is Friday. As...

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NYRA Removing Paddock Tent at Saratoga

The New York Racing Association will increase the amount of green space available to fans by removing the group hospitality tent positioned alongside the paddock at Saratoga, it announced Tuesday. The removal of the Paddock Tent, which has been a permanent fixture at Saratoga for more than a decade, will return 240 square feet of picnic space to fans where they can enjoy an unimpeded view of the historic Saratoga paddock. The Paddock Tent will be eliminated prior to the start of the 2020 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course,...

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