There may be a foot of snow on the ground across Saratoga Springs, but it’s never too soon to start thinking about next year’s track season. Earlier this week, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) officially announced the racing schedule for the 2020 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course. Get ready for another longer meet, racing fans, as next summer’s season will mirror the tweaked, eight-week 2019 schedule, kicking off on Thursday, July 16 and running through Labor Day, September 7.
“The changes we made to the 2019 season received an overwhelmingly positive response from our horsemen, fans and the community,” says NYRA CEO and President David O’Rourke. “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.”
The schedule change was apparently a big hit, as NYRA reported that the 2019 meet, which included the historic 150th running of the signature Travers Stakes, received record-breaking amounts of wagering (more than $700 million in all-sources handle). Also, for the fifth year in a row, paid attendance at the track exceeded one million fans.
The racing schedule at Saratoga Race Course had originally been augmented to make up for the construction of a hockey arena at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY that would’ve disrupted the racing season there. To compensate for this, the 40-day schedule at Saratoga Race Course was extended by one week, offering eight weeks of stakes races (instead of the customary seven) every Wednesday through Sunday with dark days falling on Mondays and Tuesdays.
NYRA will release a full 2020 stakes schedule at Saratoga Race Course in the near future.