NYRA announces jockey protocols for Aqueduct fall meet
by Pat McKenna
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced COVID-19 health and safety protocols for jockeys during the 18-day Aqueduct fall meet, which will open on Friday, November 6 and run through Sunday, December 6. The Aqueduct fall meet will be highlighted by 29 stakes, including 11 graded events, worth $3.41 million in purse money.
Opening weekend of the Aqueduct fall meet, which coincides with the Breeders' Cup set for November 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course, begins with the $100,000 Tempted for juvenile fillies and $80,000 Atlantic Beach for juvenile turf sprinters on November 6. Following opening weekend, live racing will be conducted Thursday through Sunday with the exception of Thanksgiving Week, when live racing will not be offered on Thanksgiving Day, November 26.
Members of the Aqueduct jockey colony who travel to ride at any other racetrack during the Aqueduct fall meet will be required to provide two negative COVID-19 tests taken within a 5-day window in order to return to ride at Aqueduct. Jockeys traveling out of state who have completed the required testing will then be physically isolated in the jockey quarters for three additional calendar days.
Jockeys not currently riding at NYRA who wish to join the Aqueduct jockey colony for the beginning of the Aqueduct fall meet must contact NYRA's Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Martin Panza or Aqueduct Racing Secretary Keith Doleshel by Wednesday, November 11. Newcomers to the NYRA jockey colony will be required to provide two negative COVID-19 tests taken within the 5-day window preceding that jockey's first mount at Aqueduct.
In order to mitigate risk and reduce the spread of COVID-19, Aqueduct will be closed to out-of-town jockeys not considered members of the regular NYRA jockey colony.
All testing must be performed in New York state.
In addition to race day safety protocols which include standard health screening and temperature checks, the jockey quarters at Aqueduct have been substantially altered to provide maximum social distancing and reduce density. All areas accessed by jockeys during the regular course of a race day are closed to outside personnel, including credentialed media, and are cleaned and disinfected throughout the day.
Jockeys are not permitted access to the barn area at Belmont Park . In order to work a horse in the morning, the jockey must meet the horse in the paddock and may then proceed to the main track for as long as the main track remains open.
Jockey agents arriving from outside of New York must produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to gain access to the barn area at Belmont Park. Races will continue to be drawn via Zoom.
All valets must provide a negative COVID-19 test taken any time after November 2 in order to access the jockey quarters on opening day, November 6. Valets who choose to only saddle horses in the paddock and not enter the jockey quarters will be allowed in the Belmont Park barn area.
America's Day at the Races will present daily television coverage of the Aqueduct fall meet on FOX Sports and MSG Networks.
For the complete stakes schedule for the Aqueduct fall meet, please visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/stakes-schedule.