The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today formally announced that the 2020 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course will mirror the 2019 schedule that resulted in record wagering and paid attendance that again surpassed the one million mark. The 2020 meet will feature 40 days of world-class thoroughbred racing primarily run across a five-day week that will open in mid-July and conclude on Labor Day.
The 2020 season will begin with a four-day Opening Weekend, Thursday, July 16 through Sunday, July 19. Following Opening Weekend, racing will be conducted five days per week, Wednesdays through Sundays. The final day of the season will be Labor Day, Monday, September 7.
Spa Had Record Breaking ’19 Meet
The announcement follows a thorough review and analysis of the record-breaking 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course, which occurred across the same schedule and generated more than $700 million in all-sources handle for the first time in the history of the Spa – despite a pair of weather-related cancellations that included a full Saturday card of racing. Paid attendance at Saratoga also surpassed one million fans for the fifth consecutive season.
“The changes we made to the 2019 season received an overwhelmingly positive response from our horsemen, fans and the community. We asked the local and racing communities for their feedback to these changes following the conclusion of the meet. Given their support, and to maintain consistency and stability for our fans and stakeholders, we will conduct a similar racing schedule in 2020,” said NYRA CEO & President Dave O’Rourke.
Chamber Endorses Schedule
The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce endorsed the decision, citing support from the local business community, including the Saratoga Downtown Business Association and Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau.
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“We assembled a group representing local hotels, restaurants, retailers and entertainment and recreation destinations to meet with NYRA following the summer meet. By the end of the discussion, everyone understood why two dark days is best going forward and agreed that keeping those two days consistent with this past summer offers the best chance to attract more visitors. We appreciate NYRA’s collaboration with our local hospitality partners to make a decision in the best interest of the community,” said Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus.
The Saratoga Local Advisory Board also expressed its support.
“We appreciate the constructive and ongoing dialogue with NYRA and enthusiastically support the five-day racing schedule moving forward,” said Saratoga Race Course Local Advisory Board Chairman Joseph A. Torani. “Nothing is more important to the local economy than Saratoga Race Course, and we look forward to the continued success of thoroughbred racing at the Spa.”
NYRA will issue a complete stakes schedule for the 2020 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course in the near future.
For more information, visit www.NYRA.com/Saratoga.