Locals, Horsemen Wonder: Will There Be A Saratoga Meet This Year? - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Locals, Horsemen Wonder: Will There Be A Saratoga Meet This Year?

Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

As of now, a July 16 opening day is still on the calendar for Saratoga Race Course, but as the COVID-19 crisis worsens in New York, writer Mike MacAdam questions whether the traditional summer race meet will actually take place.

Writing for The Daily Gazette, MacAdam noted the Saratoga isn't just a beloved tradition — it's an enormous source of revenue for Saratoga Springs and its surrounding environs.

Even if the meet goes ahead, some have questioned whether people would be willing to gather in the close quarters of the stands and picnic tables so soon after a pandemic caused by a highly contagious virus.

Then there's the ever-present question of keeping backstretch workers healthy while horses race or train. Even training at Saratoga may be in question. Currently, the Oklahoma Training Track is scheduled to open April 15 for training, although it's not often highly populated until later into the year. It remains unclear whether that opening will go ahead, as Belmont Park has already reported six confirmed positives from workers there.

One of the key considerations to the likelihood of racing, MacAdam writes, may be whether there enough horses left to stage a meet after New York emerges from its current shutdown.

“What client, unless you have a ton of money, can keep them going from now until July 16?” trainer James Bond said to MacAdam. “They still eat. To shoe a horse is $200 a month. It's a small fortune to own these things. And you've got labor. These people have to be paid, and paid well, because it's a dangerous, tough sport.”

Read more at The Daily Gazette

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