SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Race Course will open for spring training at 6 a.m. on Saturday, April 17. The barn area at the Oklahoma Training Track will open to horsemen on Thursday, April 15.
To accommodate the completion of a major renovation of the Oklahoma Training Track facility, training will begin on the main track at Saratoga Race Course, according to a statement issued by the New York Racing Association.
When training resumes at the Oklahoma in early May, horses and riders will be met with a completely reconstructed track featuring a limestone base, renovated surface layer and modernized drainage systems. In addition, the training track has been widened by 10-14 feet in most areas to address the increasing population of horses training over the Oklahoma annually from April-October.
Additionally, to enhance safety for exercise riders and jockeys, the inner rail at the Oklahoma has been replaced with a rider protection system designed by Horsemen’s Track and Equipment. The renovation of the Oklahoma Training Track was modeled after the work that was done to the Saratoga main track in 2020, which involved general improvements to the base and surface of the track, as well as a complete overhaul of the drainage system and installation of a new rider safety rail.
In consultation with the New York State Gaming Commission as well as state and local public health officials, NYRA will maintain a number of health and safety protocols implemented at all NYRA properties to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 and reduce risk for employees, horsemen, backstretch workers and the community. Facial coverings and social distancing are mandatory at all times at Saratoga Race Course.
Beginning on April 17, personnel working in support of training activities must provide a negative COVID-19 test or proof of full vaccination in order to access the property. This applies to both local personnel as well as those arriving from other regions. All personnel will be subject to a daily temperature check prior to entering the property.
The 40-day summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course will open on Thursday, July 15. New York State COVID-19 protocols do not currently allow for spectators at racetracks. NYRA says is is working closely with New York State to secure the requisite approvals to welcome fans back to Belmont Park this spring and to Saratoga Race Course this summer.
Photo: Work continues at Oklahoma Training Track earlier this month. Photo by SuperSource Media.