The New York Racing Association Inc. has announced COVID health and safety protocols for jockeys competing at the 2021 Aqueduct Racetrack spring meet, which will run April 1 through April 18.
The 11-day Big A spring meet will include 13 stakes worth $2.7 million in purses highlighted by the 96th running of the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial on Saturday, April 3. Live racing will be conducted on a Thursday-Sunday schedule with a 1:20 p.m. EDT first post.
NYRA will continue to permit out-of-town jockeys to compete at Aqueduct during the 2021 spring meet. Those jockeys must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken in New York State within 48 hours of the day they intend to compete at Aqueduct. Out-of-town jockeys will be provided isolated jockey quarters at Aqueduct.
Members of the regular NYRA jockey colony who travel to ride at any other racetrack during the Aqueduct spring meet will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken in New York State within 48-hours of the day then intend to compete at Aqueduct. Jockeys who have traveled and returned to Aqueduct will be provided isolated jockey quarters at Aqueduct.
Beginning on April 1, all jockeys who have been fully vaccinated will no longer be required to undergo COVID-19 testing in order to compete at Aqueduct. Vaccinated jockeys traveling to ride at Aqueduct, as well as members of the NYRA jockey colony who travel outside of New York State, will continue to be provided isolated jockey quarters at Aqueduct.
According to current Centers for Disease Control guidance, individuals are considered fully vaccinated 14 days or more after receiving the second dose in a two dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or 14 days or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson / Janssen). NYRA will adhere to the current CDC guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccination standards.
Beginning on April 1, all jockeys who have been fully vaccinated to the satisfaction of CDC guidelines will be permitted to enter NYRA barn areas for morning training. Jockeys who have not been fully vaccinated will not be permitted in the barn area but can continue to meet horses in the Belmont paddock and utilize the main track.
In accordance with current CDC guidelines, jockeys who have traveled internationally will be required to quarantine for seven days upon their return. Four days after arrival in the United States, the jockey must be tested for COVID-19. Upon receipt of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, and completion of the seven-day quarantine, the jockey may compete at Aqueduct. All jockeys who have traveled internationally will be provided isolated jockey quarters.
In addition to race-day safety protocols, which include standard health screening and temperature checks, the jockey quarters at Aqueduct have been substantially altered to provide maximum social distancing and reduce density. All areas accessed by jockeys during the regular course of a race day are closed to outside personnel, including credentialed media, and are cleaned and disinfected throughout the day.
Jockey agents must produce a negative COVID-19 PCR test in order to gain access to the barn area. Races will continue to be drawn via Zoom.
Beginning on April 1, jockey valets who have been fully vaccinated to the satisfaction of CDC guidelines may enter the barn area for morning training. In addition, jockey valets that have been working in the barn area and only saddling horses in the afternoon that have not been fully vaccinated may re-enter the jockeys quarters after completing a 10-day quarantine and providing a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48-hours of their intended return.