The Daily Racing Form reported on Saturday that the New York Racing Association will seek approval to extend the 2019 Saratoga Race Course meet by one week(link).
The meet currently runs six days a week from mid-July through Labor Day. According to DRF, NYRA will still run a 40-day meet, but from Thursday, July 11 through Labor Day, with no racing on Mondays and Tuesdays until Labor Day itself.
DRF‘s sources said the primary reason for this is due to the expected groundbreaking for the New York Islanders’ new arena on Belmont Park’s grounds in May or June. Officials fear that will disrupt racing and training there during its spring/summer meet.
Such a move, however, would also make the horsemen happy, as they have said for years they would appreciate a five-day meet. Saratoga is the only major meet that runs six days per week.
Also, a longer Saratoga meet may please local businesses and area tourism officials.
“We understand the urgency in announcing the dates for the 2019 Saratoga racing calendar,” NYRA Director of Communications Patrick McKenna said in a statement. “This matter is a complex issue that transcends NYRA and involves multiple partners. We anticipate that we will be in a position to announce the 2019 Saratoga dates within the near future. We appreciate the patience of our horsemen, fans and the community.”
The Islanders’ new arena could also affect weekday post times and number of races carded for Belmont’s spring/summer meet, as well as the possible length of its fall meet.
The New York State Gaming Commission grants all final approvals on racing dates.