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Saratoga Race Course

A small group of owners watches a horse leave the paddock at Saratoga Race Course
Lucas Willard / WAMC

The Belmont Park horse racing meet begins next week and, after a year without fans in the stands, some spectators will be allowed in. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard has reaction from Saratoga Springs, where officials are hopeful for a more normal summer season.

Saratoga Race Course during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says attendees will be allowed at horse and car racing events beginning April 23. Cuomo made the announcement after a closed-press visit to Belmont Park Wednesday, saying the events will proceed at 20% capacity with COVID-19 precautions in place.

NYRA CEO David O'Rourke inside the new 1863 Club at Saratoga Race Course in 2019
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Due to the pandemic, the New York Racing Association in 2020 held races at its three tracks — including Saratoga Race Course — without fans in the stands. In Saratoga, it made for an eerie summer, with the normally packed picnic grounds and finish line desolate.  

NYRA recently announced the schedule for the 2021 meet at the Spa, with live racing scheduled from July 15th to Labor Day, but word is still out if fans will be allowed back on the historic grounds. 

WAMC's Lucas Willard spoke with NYRA President and CEO Dave O'Rourke about his hopes for bringing cheering crowds back to Saratoga Race Course this summer.

A small group of owners watches a horse leave the paddock at Saratoga Race Course
Lucas Willard / WAMC

The New York Racing Association has announced a 40-day meet at Saratoga Race Course running from July 16 through Labor Day, September 6.

Protesters are separated by a mounted police officer in Saratoga Springs on July 30th, 2020
Lucas Willard / WAMC

In Saratoga Springs, 2020 brought an upended tourism season, a financial emergency at City Hall, yet another push for a new city charter, and loud calls for racial justice. 

A small group of owners watches a horse leave the paddock at Saratoga Race Course
Lucas Willard / WAMC

The 2020 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course ends Monday, Labor Day. With races run without fans because of the pandemic, the only sounds you might hear are the races themselves. As WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports, an empty track means a chance to hear something different at post time.

Video screens inside the new hall of fame
Lucas Willard / WAMC

As it prepares to reopen Saturday for the first time since the pandemic took hold, The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs has a new look.

John Imbriale
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Much is different this summer at Saratoga Race Course. While there are no fans in the stands, there is still an announcer in the booth calling the races. Four decades since he started working for the New York Racing Association, John Imbriale is now announcing its premier meet full-time.

An empty clubhouse at Saratoga Race Course
Lucas Willard / WAMC

The horses, jockeys and trainers were on the track today in Saratoga Springs for the start of the summer meet. But the fans had no choice but to stay home.

A large NYRA Bets card
Lucas Willard / WAMC

A new racing season is beginning today. And with no fans to walk up to the betting window at Saratoga Race Course this year, NYRA is partnering with Stewart’s Shops to popularize its mobile betting platform.

The Saratoga Race Course is prepping the track but not the stands.
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

The Saratoga Race Course meet starts Thursday with new restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Public safety officials say if you want to watch the races, you’ll have to do it on TV.

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.

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

With the industry under intense scrutiny, an anti-doping bill for horse racing is advancing in Washington.

Rep. Paul Tonko speaks at Saratoga Race Course
Lucas Willard / WAMC

August is here and the thoroughbred racing season is in full swing at Saratoga Race Course. And a local congressman is trying once again to pass anti-doping legislation directed at the sport.

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

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is confirming that longtime Saratoga Springs philanthropist and socialite Marylou Whitney has died at age 93. A fixture in Saratoga society and at the race course, Whitney lived on the sprawling Cady Hill property in the city, and owned thoroughbred racehorses. In August, Whitney was scheduled to be inducted in the Hall of Fame, where her husband John Hendrickson is president. Brian Bouyea is the Hall of Fame’s Communications Director.

Tom Morley works with a horse at Saratoga
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Racing has been canceled Saturday at Saratoga Race Course due to expected excessive heat.

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

Today was the first day of the 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard was there and has an update on what’s new.

The 1863 Club at Saratoga
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Fans visiting the historic Saratoga Race Course on opening day Thursday will notice something new at the first turn. The brand new 1863 Club offers high-end hospitality.

Saratoga Race Course
Lucas Willard / WAMC

This week, an annual Saratoga Springs tradition is starting early: Saratoga Race Course opens Thursday. The meet is now more than a week longer, with off days on Monday and Tuesday instead of just Tuesday. Local residents and businesses are eager to see how the adjustment by the New York Racing Association will affect the area — as the one-time “August Place To Be” expands into mid-July. Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, spoke with WAMC’s Ian Pickus about the area’s new tourism calendar.   

Saratoga Race Course
Lucas Willard / WAMC

With thoroughbred racing again underway at the New York Racing Association’s Belmont Park, NYRA is highlighting safety reforms at its racetracks.

The NYRA shield
New York Racing Association

The summer meet at Saratoga Race Course will start one week earlier this summer.

A panoramic view of Saratoga Race Course
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Changes may be coming to the 2019 thoroughbred racing schedule at Saratoga Race Course.

A panoramic view of Saratoga Race Course
Lucas Willard / WAMC

With yesterday’s 149th running of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, it is one of the busiest weekends of the year for Saratoga Springs. The Spa City’s population doubles during the summer months.

Tom Morley, daughter Grace, and wife Maggie Wolfendale
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Hours before post time at Saratoga Race Course, trainers, grooms and hotwalkers are already working with the nation’s top thoroughbreds. For trainer Tom Morley, it’s a demanding career. But luckily for him, racing is a family business.

Jockey Julie Krone
NYRA

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.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Friday marked the start of another summer season at Saratoga Race Course. As WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports, fans are already exploring new amenities at the track.

Chris Kay holds the microphone as NYRA officials cut the ribbon for The Stretch, a new premium seating area at Saratoga Race Course
Lucas Willard / WAMC

It's opening day at Saratoga Race Course. With the arrival of another summer season at the Spa, the New York Racing Association is continuing its strategy to upgrade infrastructure and provide new amenities to fans. 

A panel discussion was hosted by the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
Lucas Willard / WAMC

One day before the start of the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course, members of the thoroughbred racing and tourism industries gathered in the Spa City to share their thoughts on the racing season.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Three years ago, after American Pharoah became the first thoroughbred to win the Triple Crown in 37 years, a grassroots campaign was launched to bring the famed horse to Saratoga Race Course for the Travers. Pharoah’s run at the Mid-Summer Derby ended in a stunning defeat. But with a new Triple Crown champion Justify three years later, hopes are high in Saratoga Springs that he too will race at the Spa.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

WAMC News has confirmed that a backstretch health clinic at Saratoga Race Course will re-open later this month after receiving a boost in funding.

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