horse racing | WAMC

horse racing

Bob Baffert, middle, in Saratoga
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Embattled Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has been suspended by the New York Racing Association. It comes as the Baffert-trained Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby victory faces scrutiny following a failed drug test.

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner
Lucas Willard / WAMC

An upstate New York state Assemblywoman is seeking an aid payment from the parent company that operates Rivers Casino in Schenectady to an organization that represents the harness racing industry in Saratoga Springs. 

Jackie Orhcard / WAMC

The New York State Senate has passed a bill relating to the aftercare of retired racehorses. 

The State Senate on Wednesday voted on the bill that among other provisions prohibits the slaughter of race horses or breeding stock, requires all racehorses be microchipped, requires breeding funds have a dedicated set-aside for aftercare programs, and provides tax credits for accredited aftercare facilities.  

Horseracing at Saratoga Race Course
Lucas Willard / WAMC

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, a version of which has been promoted for years by Capital Region House Democrat Paul Tonko, now has a path forward in the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced Monday in Lexington that he will introduce the bill in the Senate, after getting support from The Jockey Club, Keeneland and Churchill Downs. 

Horseracing at Saratoga Race Course
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Starting Thursday, there will be a highly unusual sight in Saratoga Springs: the world class thoroughbred racing meet will begin with no one in the stands or in the normally packed backyard. Because of the pandemic, the 40-day meet is being held with only essential workers allowed inside. 

An empty Whitney Viewing Stand on Thursday
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Thoroughbred racing at Belmont Park kicked off yesterday with no fans in the stands. Upstate in Saratoga Springs, today marked the official start of the training season before an unprecedented summer season.

NEW YORK (AP) — More than two dozen horse trainers, veterinarians and others have been charged in what authorities describe as a widespread international scheme to drug horses to race faster.

This is a photo of State Representative Smitty Pignatelli
JD Allen / WAMC News

Smitty Pignatelli is the Democratic State Representative for the 4th Berkshire District in Massachusetts. With State Senator and fellow Democrat Adam Hinds, Pignatelli is the co-presenter of a bill that would put Great Barrington’s December town vote for home rule into law. The Southern Berkshire community of around 7,000 is seeking the legal confirmation to ensure that it will have the final word on whether horse racing returns to the Great Barrington Fairgrounds for the first time in two decades, which Suffolk Downs is exploring. Pignatelli spoke with WAMC Tuesday.

The NYRA shield
New York Racing Association

Fans at Saratoga Race Course will be hearing a different but familiar voice over the loudspeakers this summer.

A auditorium filled with seated people facing a stage with people on it
Josh Landes / WAMC

As the town debates how to approach the possible return of horse racing to the Berkshires, voters in Great Barrington, Massachusetts adopted a home rule petition at special town meeting Wednesday night.

Morning workouts at Saratoga Race Course on July 11th, 2019
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Thoroughbred racing organizations have launched a new collective effort they say will ensure the safety of equine and human athletes at a time when the industry’s future is in jeopardy.

State Senator Adam Hinds holds a microphone at an outdoor event.
Becki Joppru Connolly

As the community discusses the return of horse racing to Great Barrington, Massachusetts State Senator Adam Hinds has removed his name from a bill about opening up regulations on the industry.

Suffolk Downs

As locals raise questions about the potential return of horse racing to Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the company eyeing the town is trying to answer them.

A room full of seated people face a table of similarly seated people
Josh Landes / WAMC

There is plenty of confusion as locals consider the possibility of horse racing returning to Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Facebook: Great Barrington Fairgrounds

Berkshire leaders are considering the return of horseracing to Great Barrington. The possibility is raising a number of questions.

Congressman Paul Tonko
Public domain / Public domain

Horse racing is under fresh scrutiny.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Congressman Paul Tonko, a Democrat from the 20th district, wraps up his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Jockey Julie Krone

When the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs hosts a symposium on women in racing Sunday morning at 10, the first woman ever elected to the Hall of Fame will be there. Legendary jockey Julie Krone is returning to Saratoga to take part in the panel, which also features Hall of Fame trainer Janet Elliott, steeplechase jockey Blythe Miller Davies, and trainer Linda Rice, among others.


The New York State Gaming Commission recently invited stakeholders to discuss racehorse retirement and aftercare in Saratoga Springs.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Several horse deaths at Saratoga Race Course are placing pressure on the entities that oversee thoroughbred racing in New York to prevent injuries among equine athletes. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports on new steps being implemented ahead of the season’s biggest race.

Two Congressman representing two centers of horse racing, upstate New York and Kentucky, have re-introduced a bill intended to improve the sport of kings with new anti-doping requirements.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Outside the Saratoga Springs City Center, organizers announced Equestricon 2017. The event is scheduled to take place over three days next August, during the busy thoroughbred racing season. It’s touted as the first ever international horse racing convention and industry trade show.

Rivers GM Mary Cheeks speaks with reporters on the casino construction site as Rush Street Gaming CEO Greg Karlin and NYSGC member John Poklemba look on.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The New York State Gaming Commission met Monday afternoon in Schenectady. They discussed horse racing and casino gambling before heading off to tour the under-construction Rivers Casino.

  History was made at the 2015 Belmont Stakes when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, the first since Affirmed in 1978. As magnificent as the champion is, the team behind him has been all too human while on the road to immortality.

Written by an award-winning New York Times sportswriter, American Pharoah is the definitive account not only of how the ethereal colt won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes, but how he changed lives.

The New York Racing Association board has advanced restructuring plans recommending future governance outside of state control.

  One of the key industries in our region is horse racing, but the sport is not without its problems.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about his legislation for oversight of the Sport of Kings.

  A Listener Essay by Susan McDonough - a member of the New York State Humane Association.

Many people are excited about a summer at Saratoga Race Course, but not me. In my opinion, racing is bad for horses.

  Horse racing is enjoying a banner year with its first Triple Crown winner in nearly four decades, but the sport still has plenty of problems.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about a bill of his that would clean up the game.

New York Congressman Paul Tonko
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Capital District Congressman Paul Tonko is introducing legislation to crack down on illegal doping in thoroughbred horse racing. 

NYS Has Three Horses In The Kentucky Derby

May 2, 2015
Courtesy of

Three thoroughbreds born and raised in New York will compete in the first leg of horse-racing’s Triple Crown. It’s the most the state has had at one time in the Kentucky Derby. And as WAMC’s Allison Dunne tells us, two of the horses are from the Hudson Valley.

The two horses from the Hudson Valley are International Star, foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains in Dutchess County; and Upstart, foaled at Sunnyfield Farm in Bedford. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will be cheering for Upstart, who drew the number 18 post.

NYRA Predicts Profit

Dec 4, 2014

The board of the often troubled New York Racing Association has revealed reorganization efforts are putting the organization back in the black.