SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10)- On Saturday, Governor Cuomo announced that there will be no fans allowed to gather at horse racing tracks in New York. Local breeders say their first priority is working with their horses and staff to secure their safety.
Governor Cuomo approved horse tracks to reopen this spring and summer. Even though fans are not allowed in the tracks, gambling is still available.
“Frankly the majority of many are wagered on the racing that happens off the track. It’s the off track handle that makes more money than the actual fans coming in.” said Carrie Warner, State Assembly of the 113th District.
Warner says organizers of the Saratoga Racing Track presented a plan to the Governor of how to safely restart live racing. Organizers stated they would only having a certain amount of essential personnel inside at a time.
“They have really been putting in place strong protocols for protecting the health of the people who live and work on the track as well as the community members.” said Warner.
James Bond and his wife Tina are the owners of Bond Racing Stable. They manage a horse training business and together they run Song Hill Thoroughbreds.
“If I could of texted the Governor on Saturday and if he would of answered it, I would of thanked him from the bottom of my heart. It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.” said James Bond.
James and Tina breed, race, sell, and raise horses. During the pandemic, the Bonds have made sure their horses and staff are extra cautious.
“We take the horses temperatures twice a day on this farm. Our racing division horses get their temperatures checked three times a day. It is important to make sure they are all healthy because they are major investments for ourselves and other clients. We also take the staffs temperatures before and after work.” said James Bond.
Tina says during the pandemic they have not been allowed to race. She says without racing it means no money has been coming in and it takes a toll.
“Horses need to train they are professional athletes. They need to be taken care of everyday even if they are not racing. So the cost of all of that has never gone away.” explained Tina Bond, NYTHA 2nd Vice President.
Warner says the first horse races will start at Belmont Park on June 1st and continue to Saratoga in mid-July. This year’s Saratoga meet is scheduled to run from July through September. Like last season, it will take place five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays.
“Hopefully the numbers will be good enough by August that the Governor can make a different decision about the fans.” said Carrie Warner.