Saratoga Race Course to re-open at 100 percent capacity this summer
by Pat McKenna
COVID-19 protocols lifted for outdoor sports venues
General admission resumes at Belmont Park on June 24
With 70 percent of adult New Yorkers now vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday announced the immediate removal of COVID-19 protocols and restrictions for nearly all activities and industries, including outdoor sports and entertainment venues. Accordingly, the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will open all sections at Saratoga Race Course at 100 percent capacity.
The lifting of all COVID-19 protocols, including the requirement for fans to provide vaccination status, applies to all hospitality areas and venues within the facility, including the popular Saratoga backyard, 1863 Club and The Stretch. Season admission passes, which provide access to the backyard, will be available for purchase and use without the prior requirement that fans provide proof of vaccination status.
“As New Yorkers collectively reach this major milestone in the fight against COVID-19, NYRA thanks Governor Cuomo for his leadership in achieving this goal and for the opportunity to welcome fans back to Saratoga this summer,” said NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke. “This season will be a celebration like no other in Saratoga’s long and storied history and we are thrilled to open the gates to the best fans in racing in just a few short weeks.”
As announced previously by Gov. Cuomo, all fans who show proof of vaccination via the New York State Excelsior Pass on Opening Day, Thursday, July 15, will receive free Grandstand general admission. Fans from outside New York State may redeem free admission by showing their Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.
NYRA encourages all fans who have been vaccinated in New York State to download the Excelsior Pass at https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/excelsior-pass.
Non-vaccinated individuals will be required to wear a facial covering during their day at Saratoga Race Course, in accordance with CDC guidance.
NYRA can also today announce the re-opening of the Whitney Viewing Stand at the Oklahoma Training Track. Beginning Saturday, June 26, members of the public will be welcome to view morning training from 7-10 a.m. Prior to the opening of the summer meet on July 15, the Whitney Viewing Stand will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 7-10 a.m. with access available via Gate 21 on East Avenue.
Licensed owners will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination when entering the Saratoga Race Course property. Beginning June 24, family members and guests will be permitted to accompany licensed owners to view morning training and visit the barn area.
At Belmont Park, the lifting of COVID-19 protocols will allow for the full re-opening of the facility to fans. Beginning Thursday, June 24, walk up general admission will be available for $5 and the backyard picnic tables will once again be available on a first come first served basis.
Season and weekly ticket plans for the 2021 season at Saratoga Race Course are currently on-sale at NYRA.com/Saratoga. Group hospitality reservations are also currently available via email at [email protected] or by phone at (844) NYRA-TIX. Tables in the Festival Tent may be reserved via Ticketmaster.com.
Single-day tickets will go on sale Wednesday, June 23 at 10 a.m. at Ticketmaster.com.
Single-day dining reservations in the Turf Terrace, The Porch and Club Terrace will be accepted beginning Wednesday, June 30 at 10 a.m. at Ticketmaster.com.
The 40-day summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course will feature 76 stakes worth $21.5 million in total purses highlighted by the 152nd renewal of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on August 28 and the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney on August 7, as the anchors of two of the most prestigious racing days in North America.
Following the four-day opening weekend from Thursday, July 15 through Sunday, July 18, racing will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays, with the exception of the final week, when the meet will conclude on Labor Day.
For additional information, visit NYRA.com/Saratoga.