New York Governor Gives Spectator-Free Horse Racing Green Light For June 1 Reopening

During his daily coronavirus briefing on Saturday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo  said horse racing without spectators may resume as early as Monday, June 1.

The New York Racing Association last raced on Sunday, March 15, at Aqueduct. Four days later, after a backstretch worker tested positive at Belmont Park, NYRA suspended live racing while permitting training to continue during morning hours under strict safety protocols.

New York has had more confirmed cases of COVID-19 and deaths from the virus than any state in the U.S.


“We have a smart-phased reopening plan that has been reviewed by great experts in the field, and we feel very good about that,” Cuomo said. “We’re getting a little more nuanced in our analysis, looking for economic activities that you can start without crowds and without gatherings. Remember the problem here are crowds and gatherings.

“What economic activity is willing to reopen without a crowd?” he continued. “They’re talking about this in terms of sports. You can have baseball without a crowd, but it can still be televised. Great. You can have economic activity without a crowd. That’s great. We can do that in this state with horse racing tracks and we’re going to do that. There will be guidelines for the actual participants but no crowds, no fans, but for the industry itself, for the televised viewers, that can still work.”

It was not immediately clear when racing will resume at Belmont Park, whose spring meet was scheduled to begin on Friday, April 24, and run through Sunday, July 12.

This story will be updated as more details become available from the New York Racing Association.


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