Dave O'Rourke

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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NYRA to Honor Johnstone

The New York Racing Association will honor the late horseman when it presents the Bruce Johnstone Best Turned Out Horse Award to the groom of the horse deemed by NYRA racing officials to be best presented in the paddock ahead of the GI Longines Test at Saratoga Aug. 7. The winning groom will receive a $150 gift card. Johnstone, who passed last February, transitioned from a successful career as a trainer to management at NYRA, where he spent the last 13 years of his career as Manager of Racing Operations....

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Jockey Club Round Table To Be Held Aug. 15

Edited Press Release The 69th Annual The Jockey Club Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing will be held virtually for the second consecutive year Sunday, Aug. 15, at 10 a.m. ET. It will be streamed on The Jockey Club's website at jockeyclub.com on and will also air be aired on NYRA's YouTube channel, the FOX Sports app, and Racetrack Television Network's respective platforms. The Jockey Club Chairman Stuart S. Janney III will preside over the conference. Kristin Werner, senior counsel for The Jockey Club and administrator of The...

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Normalcy Returns as Saratoga Meet Opens

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Once again, Saratoga opens its world-renowned race meet with the question: How many? During the COVID-19 summer of 2020, the issue was whether there might be some loosening on the ban on spectators during the 40-day season. That never happened, though a limited number of owners were allowed to see their horses run, and some of the world's best Thoroughbreds played to a oh-so quiet empty house at America's oldest race track. With restrictions completely lifted in New York State in time for the 153rd season,...

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Saratoga Merchants Look Forward to Return of Fans

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY--Precisely 52 weeks ago, King's Tavern co-owner Jason Fitch valiantly tried to be at least a little bit positive about the prospect of a racing season without spectators across Union Avenue at Saratoga Race Course. Closed for three months by the COVID-19 lockdown, King's had reopened in mid-June at the partial-capacity limits of the time. While just being able to operate was better than nothing for Fitch and his brothers and partners, Adam and Patrick, he acknowledged it was going to be a difficult summer without the thousands...

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NYRA Gains Approval in First Step to Add Tunnel at Belmont

The project that will ultimately lead to the construction of a tunnel to the Belmont Park infield and possibly the installation of an artificial surface at the track gained approval from the New York Racing Franchise Oversight Board Wednesday, according to the Daily Racing Form. The board approved the construction of a retaining wall on the backstretch, which would need to precede the tunnel's construction. Beginning from a planned parking lot on Belmont's backstretch, the tunnel would lead to the track's infield, at approximately the location of the three-quarters pole....

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Big A Already Given Over 180K COVID Vaccines

With live racing transitioning from New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) 's Aqueduct Racetrack to Belmont Park for the start of the spring/summer meet Apr. 22, Aqueduct will continue to serve as mass COVID-19 vaccination center. The New York State vaccination distribution center opened Jan. 18 and has provided more than 180,000 doses. Operating seven days a week, the Aqueduct site is now providing as many as 4,000 doses per day. "This facility has vaccinated more than 180,000 individuals since January thanks to the teamwork displayed by employees from the...

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FOX Sports and NYRA Announce Landmark Wagering and Media Rights Agreement

Edited Press Release FOX Sports and the New York Racing Association, Inc. have announced an expanded partnership agreement that establishes FOX Sports as the official wagering partner of NYRA Bets and the leading media provider for elite Thoroughbred racing through the next decade. The prior FOX Sports/NYRA media rights agreement provided a FOX Sports subsidiary with an option to acquire a 25% stake in NYRA Bets, LLC, a leading Advance Deposit Wagering platform launched in 2016 and available to customers in 30 states across the country. The FOX Sports subsidiary...

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New Childcare Center Serving Saratoga Backstretch Community to Open Summer 2021

A new childcare center serving families and children of the backstretch community at Saratoga Race Course is scheduled to open in summer 2021, the Belmont Child Care Association, Inc. (BCCA) has announced. The 4,300-square-foot childcare center will be located on the Oklahoma side of the Saratoga backstretch. Funded by Michael and Lee Dubb, the facility will be named Faith's House in honor of Faith Dubb, mother of BCCA founder and board chairman Michael Dubb. Faith's House will provide child care and early education programs for infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children....

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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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