David O'Rourke

The Week in Review: Industry Needs to Embrace Fixed-Odds Wagering

Monmouth Park announced last week that it will begin to offer fixed odds wagering starting May 7, opening day of the meet. That was the good news. The bad news was that fixed odds betting will begin with a cautious rollout and without the major players in the sport on board. Starting Saturday, bettors on-track at Monmouth will have the choice of making traditional pari-mutuel bets or placing fixed odds wagers. Two areas of the track will be designated for fixed odds and the bets can only be made through...

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Northwell Opens Clinic to Treat Belmont Park Backstretch Workers

In collaboration with Northwell Health, the New York Racing Association and the Backstretch Employee Service Team, a new health clinic will open for Belmont Park workers, it was announced Wednesday. The $200,000, 1,000-square-foot health clinic will provide a continuum of care and offer wellness programs for the thousands of backstretch workers at Belmont Park. The free program is part of Northwell's commitment to providing equitable care to all New Yorkers. "Clinics like this one are important because they allow quick access to care, before health issues become health care emergencies,"...

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Brown, Saez, Klaravich Win Saratoga Meet Titles; Record Handle Tops $800M

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY--After accepting his fourth H. Allen Jerkens training title late Monday afternoon, Chad Brown spoke to a common theme on the final day of a joyous season following the COVID-19 summer without fans at Saratoga Race Course "Happy to have everybody back at the meet. That was the big thing," Brown said. "The most rewarding part of the meet was having everybody back. Last year, win or lose, it just wasn't any fun. I can speak for me and a lot of people around me that it just...

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The Week in Review: Sports Betting May Not Be the Enemy After All

Despite COVID shutdowns, a total of $21.52 billion was wagered legally on sports in the U.S. in 2020, about twice what was bet on horse racing, and the gap will be even greater this year and for years to come. Sports betting is growing exponentially and an argument can be made that some of its success is coming at horse racing's expense. It's surely siphoning off dollars that otherwise might be available to racing's pari-mutuel pools and it has to be drawing existing and potential customers away from racing. Yet,...

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O'Rourke, Serling, Ortiz Join 100th Writers' Room

The crew of the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland celebrated a major milestone Tuesday, recording the 100th episode of the ever-growing podcast, and did so with a star-studded show shot from the New York Racing Association's television stand overlooking the majestic paddock at Saratoga. Welcoming as guests NYRA CEO David O'Rourke, America's Day at the Races analyst and Saratoga veteran Andy Serling and Eclipse champion jockey Jose Ortiz, the writers got insight on the future of New York racing both upstate and downstate, the significance of fans returning to...

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The 100th TDN Writers' Room: Live in Saratoga

On the 100th episode of the TDN Writers' Room, Joe, Bill and Jon were on scene in Saratoga to chat with NYRA's David O'Rourke, Fox Sports analyst Andy Serling and Eclipse champion jockey Jose Ortiz.

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Saratoga's Racing and Gaming Conference Set to Return

After a two-year absence, the Racing and Gaming Conference is back. The two-day conference will kick off Aug. 16 and will be held in the 1863 Club on the grounds of Saratoga Race Course. With the goal of examining industry trends and challenges facing the sport, the conference was known for bringing together notable industry leaders from across a wide spectrum, including racing officials, regulators and politicians. This year, more than 40 gaming and racing industry professionals will participate in 14 sessions as speakers and panelists throughout the two days....

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Saratoga to Open at 100% Capacity

Edited press release After racing with no fans in 2020, Saratoga will open with 100% capacity in 2021, the New York Racing Association announced today. With 70% of adult New Yorkers now vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday the immediate removal of COVID-19 protocols and restrictions for nearly all activities and industries, including outdoor sports and entertainment venues. Accordingly, NYRA will open all sections at Saratoga at 100%. The lifting of all COVID-19 protocols, including the requirement for fans to provide vaccination status, applies to all hospitality...

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Aftercare Bill Passes in New York

Shortly after midnight Wednesday, the New York State Assembly passed an aftercare bill which prohibits the slaughter of racehorses and racehorse breeding stock, requires that racehorses be microchipped, and provides tax incentives for Thoroughbred aftercare donations on tax returns. The bill will now be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign it. The purpose of the legislation is to ensure the prohibition of the inhumane slaughter of retired racehorses and breeding stock. The legislation also increases access to funding for appropriate care of retired racehorses by ensuring...

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NYRA Launches Elizabeth Bracken Memorial Scholarship

The New York Racing Association launched the Elizabeth Bracken Memorial Scholarship to support and encourage students enrolled in the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program (RTIP) to secure careers in the Thoroughbred industry. The $10,000 scholarship, to be awarded annually, will be open to juniors and seniors who have completed one full semester in the RTIP and have expressed the desire to work in the Thoroughbred racing industry. The scholarship honors the memory of Elizabeth Bracken, an RTIP graduate who spent 16 years at NYRA before returning to RTIP...

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NYRA and TVG to Donate $410,000 to Support COVID-19 Relief

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and TVG have announced a series of COVID-19 relief donations for a broad spectrum of non-profit organizations working to support the Thoroughbred racing community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The $410,000 in charitable contributions will be distributed to seven non-profit organizations including the New York Chapter of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America (NYRTCA), the Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T), the Belmont Child Care Association (BCCA), the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC), the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program (RTIP), the Permanently...

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In an Unusual Year, Some Things Stay the Same at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Even without spectators on the grounds, the 152nd summer of racing in Saratoga produced a total betting handle of $702.5 million that was remarkably close to last year's record figure of $705.3 million. The daily average handle for the 40-day meet in 2020 was $17.6 million and the daily average handle for the weather-shortened 39-day meet in 2019 was $18.1 million. The season concluded Monday as quietly as it began July 16, with a program conducted without fans, in compliance with New York State's COVID-19 protocols...

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