Nov 3, 2020
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NYRA and TVG to donate $410,000 to support COVID-19 relief for backstretch non-profits and thoroughbred organizations

by Pat McKenna

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and TVG today announced a series of COVID-19 relief donations for a broad spectrum of non-profit organizations working to support the thoroughbred racing community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $410,000 in charitable contributions will be distributed to seven non-profit organizations including the New York Chapter of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America (NYRTCA), the Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T), the Belmont Child Care Association (BCCA), the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC), the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program (RTIP), the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund (PDJF) and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA).

"The racing industry has rallied in incredible ways in response to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kip Levin, CEO of TVG. “The entire TVG team is grateful that our partnership with NYRA will benefit these great organizations who do so much every day to help those in need.”

NYRA and TVG created the relief fund in the spring of 2020 to proactively respond to the myriad challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the 54-day suspension of live racing in New York, the closure of casinos across the state and the continued lack of on-track attendance at all racetracks in New York. 

“These organizations are all longtime partners of NYRA who have performed outstanding and oftentimes heroic work throughout the pandemic,” said NYRA President and CEO David O’Rourke. “Our thanks to TVG for recognizing the importance of the services they provide to the men and women who sustain the sport here in New York.”

As a result of the success of the joint effort between NYRA and TVG, the NYRTCA, B.E.S.T and the BCCA, whose work is devoted to the overall health and well-being of New York’s backstretch community, will each receive donations of $100,000. 

In addition, $30,000 each will be donated to the RMTC and the RTIP with $25,000 going to both the PDJF and the TAA. 

In early March, NYRA established the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan Committee, comprised of key NYRA staff members as well as representatives from the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA), B.E.S.T, and the NYRTCA. Working together, the committee developed and implemented health and safety protocols aligning with the most updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the New York State Department of Health.

Representatives of B.E.S.T, NYRTCA and BCCA set up food banks, distributed masks, provided up-to-date communications on health care, worked as translators and collected and even distributed gift cards for groceries for the hundreds of Belmont-based backstretch workers and their families. They also created more virtual learning opportunities and at-home instruction for the children of backstretch workers enrolled in Anna House, the childcare and early education facility at Belmont Park, along with performing hundreds of other tasks that will never be recorded. 

TVG has been able to remain on air since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and has prioritized keeping its employees safe through strict social distancing, health protocols and remote broadcasting. The network has maintained a strong commitment to the horse racing industry and has continued sponsorships of the TVG Pacific Classic, TVG.com Haskell Invitational and the TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile while also expanding to sponsor additional races at Keeneland in both July and October as well as a Breeders' Crown race. Additionally, TVG has partnered with charitable organizations throughout the industry, including the TAA, California Retirement Management Account (CARMA) and the PDJF to raise funding and awareness.

About TVG

Headquartered in Los Angeles, TVG, an affiliate of FanDuel Group, is one of the largest legal online gaming companies in the US, processing over $1 billion in horseracing wagers annually from residents of 33 US states. TVG network airs races at over 150 racetracks worldwide and is among the most widely distributed horseracing networks in the world, operating TVG and TVG2 in more than 50 million US homes. The network was recently upgraded to HD on Spectrum cable and DirecTV. The company has demonstrated its commitment to the racing industry, its horse owners, tracks and fans through sponsorship of several preeminent races including the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the TVG.com Haskell Invitational and the TVG Pacific Classic. For more information about TVG, visit: tvg.com.

About the New York Racing Association

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) holds the exclusive franchise to conduct thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. 

NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York State's thoroughbred industry, which is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual statewide economic impact.

Accredited by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance, NYRA is a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, a group of the nation's leading racing organizations working collaboratively to advance safety reforms across the sport.

Over the course of 217 days of live racing in 2019, NYRA generated more than $2.1 billion in all-sources wagering handle with paid attendance exceeding 1.5 million.

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