America's Day at the Races wraps up one year of unprecedented coverage with Saturday broadcast
by Jim Reisler
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced that America’s Day at the Races will broadcast its final edition of 2020 with coverage and analysis of Saturday’s Grade 1, $250,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Presented by America's Best Racing and Claiborne Farm, America’s Day at the Races will air Saturday from 3-4:30 p.m., ET on MSG+ and 3:30-4:30 p.m., ET on FS2. The Cigar Mile is slated as the finale of Saturday’s 10-race program, with an approximate post time of 4:13 p.m.
Expanded coverage of America’s Day at the Races and Saratoga Live, both of which are produced by NYRA, provided nearly 800 hours of live racing broadcast on FOX Sports in 2020, more than double the 385 hours that aired in 2019. The expansion was most dramatic on FS1, which showed 206 hours of horse racing in 2020, compared to one hour in 2019.
“Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we regularly presented our viewers with the best racing and analysis in the country,” said Eric Donovan, NYRA Director of Broadcast Operations. “Our sincere thanks go to our viewers, sponsors, the NYRA TV production team, talent, and racing stakeholders for their extraordinary dedication, and to FOX Sports and MSG for their continued partnership and commitment to airing more thoroughbred racing than ever before."
Following the suspension of live racing in New York on March 19, America’s Day at the Races continued to feature racing from tracks around the country and provided horseplayers unable to attend the races with the opportunity to watch and wager from home.
Live racing in New York resumed at Belmont Park on June 3 with Opening Day of the spring/summer meet generating all-sources handle of $10,972,254, breaking the previous Opening Day record of $10.7 million set in 2010 – while marking the welcome return of professional sports in New York.
During a racing season conducted without spectators, fans turned to Saratoga Live, NYRA's highly-acclaimed and award-winning television program, in greater numbers than ever before. Average viewership of Saratoga Live on FS1 totaled approximately 120,000, while just under 1.3 million viewers watched the Runhappy Travers on FOX. Overall time spent viewing Saratoga Live increased by 300 percent, with more than 210 hours of live programming broadcast on FOX Sports throughout the meet.
For the second consecutive year, the Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers was televised live on the FOX broadcast network as part of an expanded Runhappy Travers Day edition of Saratoga Live. For the first time at Saratoga, the broadcast included the introduction of the “WinStar Cam” which provided viewers with in-race aerial coverage throughout the day.
Strong viewership continued through the 27-day Belmont Park fall meet and was instrumental in helping to generate a 33.6-percent increase in average daily handle from last year. As at Saratoga and this fall at Aqueduct, the Belmont fall meet was conducted without spectators and with only a limited number of essential personnel, horsemen and owners on-site due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
America's Day at the Races was also broadcast throughout the year on NYRA's YouTube channel, which boasts more than 61,000 subscribers. NYRA's YouTube channel host race replays, special features, America's Day at the Races replays and more.
NYRA Bets is the official online wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. Available to horseplayers nationwide, NYRA Bets is currently offering a $200 new member bonus in addition to a host of special weekly offers. The NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
The 2020 fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack continues through Sunday, December 6. The 56-day winter meet kicks off on Thursday, December 10 and will continue through Sunday, March 21.
For additional information, visit NYRA.com.