Cuomo Casts Doubt On Saratoga Running With Fans In 2020

Racing fans have long wondered what the outlook is for a summer meet at Saratoga in 2020. During his regular address to update New Yorkers on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed to cast doubt on the likelihood the track would operate as normal.

Cuomo expressed concern about the effects of cabin fever on the track patrons’ ability to maintain social distancing. He suggested a statewide or regional reopening of racetrack or similar attractions may be needed, as it’s possible more people than ever would go to the races if it was their only opportunity to get out of the house after weeks of quarantine. An increase in attendance would make it even harder for patrons to keep six feet away from each other.

“This falls into our new concept of ‘attractive nuisance,’ although the lawyers would say it’s an improper use of the term, which it is,’” said Cuomo.

Cuomo was referring to the legal term “attractive nuisance,” which is defined as a dangerous object or situation on a property which attracts children to the area and puts them at risk. In the legal sense, landowners are required to pay for damages if a child is injured as the result of an attractive nuisance, even if the child was trespassing.

Cuomo was reportedly not asked and did not comment on the possibility of the track running without spectators. In many press conferences, reporters are permitted to ask only one question at a time.

“You will have people from the entire northeast region driving to the Saratoga racetrack just because they want to get out of the house,” he said. “You could say, ‘Well that’s great for the Saratoga racetrack,’ but density is not our friend, right? How do you do six feet apart at the racetrack or the state fair when you have double the attendance you’ve ever had and people are all crammed in there. So I think it would have to be a statewide opening, coordinated with Connecticut and [New] Jersey, otherwise you will have a much much more dense situation if you wind up being the only attraction ‘in town’ and ‘town’ is the tri-state region.”

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