NYRA announces jockey protocols for Aqueduct winter meet
by Pat McKenna
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced COVID-19 health and safety protocols for jockeys during the 2020/21 Aqueduct winter meet, which will open on Thursday, December 10 and run through Sunday, March 28.
The 56-day Aqueduct winter meet will include 42 stakes races worth $4.57 million in purse money. In order to mitigate risk and reduce the spread of COVID-19, Aqueduct will be closed to riders that are not regular members of the NYRA jockey colony as of December 31.
To account for NYRA’s 10-day holiday break from December 21 through December 30, jockeys interested in being included in the regular NYRA jockey colony must contact NYRA for consideration by December 31.
Members of the regular NYRA jockey colony who travel to ride at any other racetrack during the Aqueduct winter 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. All COVID-19 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.
Jockey agents must produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to gain access to the barn area. Races will continue to be drawn via Zoom.
Valets working in in the jockey quarters are not permitted in the barn area.
Live racing during the Aqueduct winter meet will generally be conducted Thursday through Sunday until the end of February and the addition of special Monday cards on January 18 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and February 15 for Presidents' Day.
Live racing in March will be offered Friday through Sunday through the conclusion of the winter meet on March 28.
For additional information, and the complete winter meet stakes schedule, please visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/stakes-schedule.