David O'Rourke

NYRA's O'Rourke Chairs All-Weather Surfaces Committee

The New York Racing Association has announced the formation of an All-Weather Surfaces Committee to study the impact of various racing surfaces on equine injury rates. According to a Wednesday NYRA press release, the committee, which first met last October, will evaluate safety metrics from tracks utilizing all-weather racing surfaces, as well as study the feasibility of broader adoption of all-weather surfaces nationally. The committee, chaired by NYRA CEO and President David O'Rourke, was formed at the request of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, as part of HISA's strategic...

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Belmont At Saratoga Tickets On Sale Feb. 15

General admission tickets, hospitality offerings and reserved seats for the Belmont S. Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course will go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 15, the New York Racing Association announced via press release Thursday. Tickets may be purchased here, with advance pre-sale opportunities available by signing up here. "The 2024 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will be a four-day celebration of world class thoroughbred racing at the sport's most historic and exciting venue," said NYRA President & CEO David O'Rourke. "NYRA is thrilled...

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NYRA To Hold Job Fair For Belmont Stakes Racing Festival At Saratoga Feb. 21

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will host a job fair on Wednesday, Feb. 21 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET, the first in a series of events to support the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course, the association said in a release Thursday. The job fair will be held on the first floor of the 1863 Club at Saratoga Race Course. Interested applicants should enter through the Wright Street entrance (Gate 8) with parking available in the 1863 Club lot. "The 2024 Belmont Stakes Racing...

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Islanders Partner with NYRA to Create First Public Rinks and Outdoor Experience in Community

The New York Islanders, in partnership with Northwell, the New York Racing Association and USA Hockey, have announced the opening of The Park at UBS Arena, a 155,800 square foot season-long, outdoor experience that will introduce the first two public pond hockey rinks to the community. With UBS Arena located within the heart of historic Belmont Park, The Park aims to take advantage of this unique setting and create something special for hockey fans of all ages. The first rink, named the Northwell Pond, boasts a sheet of natural ice....

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NYRA Raises Purses For 2024 New York-Bred Foal Crop

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2026, New York-bred overnight races for 2-year-olds on the NYRA circuit will offer purse amounts matching the race's open-company counterpart, which will directly benefit the state's 2024 foal crop and pave the way to compete for some of the richest purses of any state-bred program in the nation, the association said in a release Wednesday. At the 2023 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course, maiden races restricted to New York-bred 2-year-olds featured a purse of $88,000 compared to a purse of $105,000 offered for 2-year-olds competing...

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The Jockey Club Elects Seven New Members

Seven new members were elected to the Jockey Club of America, which include Gary Fenton, Eric Gustavson, Bret Jones, Jane Lyon, Michael Mulvihill, David O'Rourke and Mandy Pope, the organization said in a release early Thursday morning. Fenton has been the managing partner of Little Red Feather Racing, a racing syndicate based in California, since 2005, and he is on the board of the Thoroughbred Owners of California and has been chairman since 2021. Over the last 17 years, Gustavson has overseen Spendthrift's growth as it acquired, raced and launched...

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'No Evidence' of Issues with Tracks, According to NYRA's O'Rourke

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY. - In the wake of two fatal breakdowns during the Travers day program Saturday, New York Racing Association officials faced the questions of if they should immediately cancel the remaining races on the card at Saratoga Race Course and whether to run on Sunday. After fact-finding sessions both days, NYRA President and CEO David O'Rourke said the courses were deemed safe for competition--the jockeys were in agreement--and racing continued as scheduled. The catastrophic leg injuries that led to two horses being euthanized Saturday brought the total of...

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NYRA Dedicates New Backstretch Healthcare Clinic at Saratoga

The New York Racing Association, Inc. joined Assemblymember Carrie Woerner, philanthropist John Hendrickson and representatives from Saratoga Hospital, the Backstretch Employee Service Team and the New York Thoroughbred Horseman's Association for a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the opening of the new Saratoga Backstretch Clinic at historic Saratoga Race Course on Tuesday. The Saratoga Backstretch Clinic will allow Saratoga Hospital and BEST to expand on the existing healthcare services offered to members of NYRA's backstretch community. Located just inside Gate 16, the backstretch clinic was constructed over the past year to replace...

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New Study Finds Saratoga Generates $371M in Economic Activity

The annual summer meet at Saratoga Race Course generates $371 million in economic activity and 2,937 jobs across the greater Capital Region, according to a new study by the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency (SCIDA). The report, which was released Monday during a news conference at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), concludes that the overall economic impact generated by the summer meet has increased by 57% since 2014 across the nine-county Capital Region. The newly released study, based on data from 2021, finds that Saratoga Race Course is responsible...

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Two Taxpayers Sue to Block $455m Loan to Rebuild Belmont

Two New York residents sued the state, its governing bodies, elected officials, and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) on Thursday in an attempt to block the recently announced $455-million loan to renovate Belmont Park. "This case is about the State of New York's unconstitutional appropriation of taxpayer funds by loaning nearly half a billion dollars to NYRA, all while turning a blind eye to NYRA's past two decades of financial mismanagement, malfeasance and scandal, and, more importantly, ignoring the State's Constitutional prohibition against providing State monies--whether by loan or...

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NYRA: If Necessary, We'd Prefer Belmont-at-Saratoga

With the construction of the new Belmont Park scheduled to begin after the spring 2024 meet, and plans for the 2025 event still uncertain, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) expressed their preference that a non-Belmont-Park Belmont Stakes be held at Saratoga rather than Aqueduct. "Should the construction of a new Belmont Park require the Belmont Stakes to be run at a different venue, then NYRA's preference would absolutely be to hold the event at Saratoga Racecourse," said NYRA's Director of Communications, Patrick McKenna, in a text to the TDN...

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Dave O'Rourke Joins The TDN Writers' Room

Not much has changed at the New York Racing Association in recent years, but that's about to change. A new Belmont Park is now in the planning stages and is expected to be ready for the 2026 spring meet. And what about the GI Belmont S.? Will the three Triple Crown tracks stick to tradition or will there be an overhaul of the series, which would likely mean that the final leg of the Triple Crown will be pushed back a few weeks? To answer to those questions and more,...

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