The New York Racing Association, Inc. announced Thursday that live racing at Aqueduct Racetrack will occur behind closed doors until further notice.
The decision follows today's announcement by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban gatherings of 500 or more people to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
"We believe that the most prudent decision to protect the health and well-being of all involved in our sport is to conduct upcoming race dates without attendees," said NYRA CEO & President Dave O'Rourke. "NYRA will continue to actively monitor this evolving situation and make further adjustments as necessary in consultation and collaboration with the New York State Gaming Commission."
Until further notice, only essential racetrack staff required to officiate and report on live racing per New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) rules, including, but not limited to, stewards, licensed owners, trainers, assistant trainers and grooms, will be permitted on-site.
A recently formed NYRA Preparedness and Response Plan Committee, comprised of key NYRA staff members as well as representatives from the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA), the Backstretch Employee Service Team (BEST), and the New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America (NYRTCA), will monitor and assess developments regarding the coronavirus.
NYRA will continue to follow best practices established by the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Live racing at the Aqueduct winter meet in March is conducted three days per week, Friday through Sunday. Live racing resumes Friday, March 13 at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 1:30 p.m. Eastern.
As a courtesy to fans, all NYRA racing can be streamed for free in high-definition at NYRA.com/aqueduct/racing/live. This service is provided by RTN.
Racing at Aqueduct is slated to continue through the conclusion of the spring meet on April 19. Live racing will then move to Belmont Park for the 51-day spring/summer meet which kicks off on April 24.