There is some big news for race tracks in New York following Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision to allow fans back at the tracks. Cuomo decided to finally start re-allowing 20 percent capacity at tracks located in New York beginning on April 23.
New York race tracks have been closed since June 3 and are finally taking a huge step towards normalcy almost one year later. Both Saratoga Race Course and Belmont Park are two of the larger and most popular tracks in New York and are expected to have fans back as soon as they can.
NYRA President excited
With the removal of the spectator ban due to COVID-19, fans will finally be able to be back at the track, and that is one of the most important things for NYRA President and CEO David O'Rourke.
"The New York Racing Association looks forward to welcoming fans back to Belmont Park this spring and to Saratoga Race Course this summer," said O'Rourke.
With summer quickly approaching, it will be interesting to see how things go at the beginning, with the potential for more fans being allowed once summer hits. Belmont Stakes weekend is June 4 through 6.
Cuomo's decision ends a 10-month period where fans were not allowed to be in attendance.
"We thank Gov. Cuomo for the opportunity to host fans at our historic tracks for the first time since the start of the pandemic," O'Rourke said.
This move comes weeks after Cuomo allowed fans to return to other New York-based sporting events, including MLB, NHL and NBA games.
"NYRA has dearly missed the passion and excitement that fans bring to the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Today's announcement by the governor is one more indication that we are collectively moving toward a return to normalcy," said O'Rourke.
Returning to the track in late April will still be different for attendees that have been to the track before COVID-19. O'Rourke has yet to announce COVID-19 guidelines and protocols, but the expectation is that masks will be required at all times, social distancing will be enforced and hand sanitizer will be available around the track.
"We will announce ticketing options for fans once we further review the guidelines and protocols set forth for Thoroughbred tracks in New York state," said O'Rourke.