For a Thoroughbred owner, there’s no excitement quite like watching your horse enter the starting gate at a Triple Crown race, especially when that horse is a favorite to win. But for Jack Knowlton of Saratoga’s Sackatoga Stable, whose horse, Tiz the Law, is the morning line favorite in this Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, that experience won’t be possible. On Monday, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) told owners that they would not be permitted to attend the Belmont Stakes, per the Daily Racing Form.
“NYRA engaged in productive conversations with the NYSGC [New York State Gaming Commission] on this matter but determined that continued health and safety concerns do not allow for expanded access to the Belmont Park property,” NYRA spokesperson Pat McKenna said in a statement.
While NYRA announced back in April that racing was likely to happen at Saratoga Race Course without fans in attendance, the organization has remained silent on whether owners of horses racing at the Spa will be able to attend. According to the Daily Racing Form, the conversations between NYRA and the NYSGC determined that “there would not be enough time to implement additional health and safety protocols.” Whether that means there will be enough time to test owners ahead of the Saratoga meet, which begins on July 16, remains unclear.
As for Jack Knowlton, watching his horse compete in the first leg of the Triple Crown on a TV screen in Saratoga will have to do. But maybe, later on this summer, he can be there in person, watching Tiz the Law come down the stretch on his home turf in Saratoga Springs.