New York state will allow some spectators at Saratoga Race Course when the annual meet begins in July, officials announced.
The announcement also applies to Belmont Park as of April 22. Spectators will be subject to the state’s safety guidance, which is currently in effect for other professional sports competitions with fans.
The Saratoga meet runs from Thursday, July 15, through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6.
Attendees must show proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccination series prior to entry and are subject to the state’s health and safety protocols on face coverings, social distancing, and health screening.
The New York Racing Association “looks forward to welcoming fans back to Belmont Park this spring and to Saratoga Race Course this summer,” said CEO Dave O’Rourke. “We thank Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the opportunity to host fans at our historic tracks for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
“We will announce ticketing options for fans once we further review the guidelines and protocols set forth for thoroughbred tracks in New York state.”
He said NYRA “has dearly missed the passion and excitement that fans bring to the sport of thoroughbred racing.” The announcement “is one more indication that we are collectively moving toward a return to normalcy.”
“We’re continuing to fight the pandemic each and every day, and the vaccine—the weapon that will win the war—is working. As the situation becomes more manageable, we’re allowing spectators at auto and horse races back into stadiums to safely enjoy great events together,” said Cuomo.
“We have a long way to go before reaching a level of immunity that defeats the COVID beast for good, and that’s why New Yorkers need to continue practicing safe behaviors as they go about their daily lives,” he said. “We’re expanding eligibility, opening more vaccination sites and bringing the vaccine directly to New Yorkers underserved by traditional healthcare institutions in the communities where they live. However, it’s going to take more effort to get us through this pandemic and out to the other side—washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing are critical tools we can use to slow the spread and keep each other safe.”
NYRA holds the exclusive franchise to conduct thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. The thoroughbred industry is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual economic impact to New York state.
For additional information, visit NYRA.com.