New York

New York Horsemen Soldier On Amid Pandemic

On Mar. 19, the New York Racing Association suspended racing for an undetermined period after a backstretch worker tested positive for COVID-19, which left New York horsemen scrambling to adjust and come up with Plan B for themselves, their horses and their staff. Nine days later--following the announcement that Aqueduct had been approved as a temporary hospital site--NYRA announced that the rest of the Aqueduct winter meet would be canceled and the Ozone Park oval would not host its traditional spring meet, headlined by the GII Wood Memorial S. "On...

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BCCA Seeks Donations

The Belmont Child Care Association (BCCA), which operates a childcare and early-childhood education facility at Belmont Park for backstretch families, needs supplies for infants and toddlers. The BCCA provides vital support to those who work in Thoroughbred racing, but Mar. 17 they closed their facility, called Anna House, consistent with Nassau County's decision to close public schools to help limit the spread of coronavirus. "Anna House has been an integral part of the community, 365 days a year, since 2003 when we opened. This is the first time we've ever...

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NYRA Suspends Live Racing Due to Coronavirus

The New York Racing Association has suspended live racing at Aqueduct Racetrack until further notice due to changing circumstances in the racing community relative to the coronavirus. A backstretch worker who lives and works at Belmont Park tested positive Thursday morning for the coronavirus. Following NYRA's Preparedness and Response Plan, the worker has been quarantined since developing symptoms the morning of Friday, Mar. 13. His roommate was also quarantined at that time. "This individual and his roommate have been in isolation since prior to racing last Friday and as such...

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Yonkers Cancels Racing After Horseman John Brennan Dies of Coronavirus

Yonkers Raceway canceled live racing Tuesday night after John Brennan, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York Director representing horsemen at Yonkers, passed away Tuesday from Coronavirus. The New Jersey resident was the state's first reported victim of Coronavirus.    DRF Harness originally reported Brennan's death and the Yonkers cancellation, but had not confirmed a connection. Harness Racing Update received confirmation from SOA of N.Y. President Joe Faraldo that racing was cancelled due to an "abundance of caution." HRU also reported that Faraldo has a fever and his doctor is...

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Contessa Quits Training

Longtime New York trainer Gary Contessa has announced he is ending his training career after 35 years. In a story originally reported by the Paulick Report, he cited the costs incurred by the Department of Labor investigation and his wife's ongoing illness as his reasons for hanging up his hat. Contessa is one of many trainers in New York to be investigated by the DOL over record-keeping and wages issues with backstretch employees. Several conditioners have already been hit with hefty fines by both the state and federal DOL. This...

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Senator Nolan to Disperse Stock at F-T February

Senator Howard C. Nolan, who grew up in nearby Mechanicville, attended his first horse race with his father at Saratoga in 1946--when the track re-opened following World War II--and caught the racing bug. He was just 14 at the time, so it would be another 30 years before he purchased his first Thoroughbred and eventually developed a large breeding operation in New York. Now, with his 87th birthday approaching, Nolan has decided to wind down his involvement in racing and is offering eight mares at next week's Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed...

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TDN Writers’ Room Podcast: Mollica Discusses Difficulties Facing NY Trainers

Trainers who run on the New York circuit tend to have the best horses in the country and compete for some of the highest purses in North America. But attorney Drew Mollica, whose expertise is equine law, said that investigations conducted by the New York Sate Department of Labor have put many New York horsemen in a precarious position. Mollica made his comments on this week's edition of the TDN Writers' Room podcast in a segment sponsored by The Green Group. Several prominent New York trainers have been hit with...

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Letter to the Editor: A Woman Among Men

It was about 9:15 a.m. on a chilly day at Belmont and as I headed down the aisle towards the back door of Barn 44 for what felt like the 50th time since arriving at 5:15 a.m., a hot walker stopped me in my tracks saying with a laugh, "You two started neck and neck earlier, but now she has 10 lengths on you." The woman he was referring to was top trainer Linda Rice and he couldn't have summed her up much better. A client once compared Rice to...

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NYJICF Makes Dent in Workers’ Comp Costs
NYJICF Makes Dent in Workers’ Comp Costs

A high-deductible workers' compensation insurance plan implemented by The New York Jockey Injury Compensation Fund (NYJICF) will enable New York's horsemen to better control their costs. According to the NYJICF, the plan is a first in the nation. Click here to view the assessment plan. "The NYJICF is building upon the incredible progress the New York racing community has made on workers' compensation in the past two years," NYJICF and New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA) President Joe Appelbaum said. "If legislation currently in place in the state is renewed...

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NYRA 2019 All-Sources Handle Over $2.1B

The New York Racing Association's 2019 all-sources handle was $2,108,126,369. Also, for the first time in history, the Saratoga meet generated more than $700 million in all-sources handle at $705,343,949. Inclement weather forced the full cancellation of seven race days and partial cancellation of six cards during the year. As a result, there were 217 race days in 2019 at NYRA tracks with average daily handle of $9,714,868 compared to 2018 when 219 days of racing resulted in a daily average of $9,650,267. The 2019 season featured 2,000 races at...

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With Two New Recruits, Rockridge Looks To Better the NY Stallion Market

A native of a small farming community in South Africa, Lere Visagie grew up a long way from the U.S. Thoroughbred industry. Today, he sits at the helm of one of New York State's leading stud farms, as the owner/operator of Rockridge Stud in Hudson, New York, which was established just seven years ago. While his is still a relatively new farm, Visagie said his goal is to improve the stallion market in New York through the growth of Rockridge's stallion division. This year, Rockridge welcomes two new Grade I...

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Rockridge Stud Sets Fees for 2020

Rockridge Stud, a full service Thoroughbred farm in Hudson, New York, has set stud fees for the 2020 season. Leofric (Candy Ride {Arg}) ($7,500 LFSN), winner of the 2018 GI Clark H., and millionaire Disco Partner (Disco Rico) ($5,000 LFSN) are new for 2020. Rockridge Stud 2020 Stud Fees: A Shin Forward (Forest Wildcat) $3,500 LFSN Disco Partner (Disco Rico) $5,000 LFSN *new for 2020* Frank Conversation (Quality Road) $5,000 LFSN Giant Surprise (Giant's Causeway) $4,000 LFSN Leofric (Candy Ride {Arg}) $7,500 LFSN *new for 2020* Micromanage (Medaglia d'Oro) $4,000...

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