12/12/2014 2:49PM

NYRA plans 251 racing days for 2015

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Though a break in late March has been added, the New York Racing Association has scheduled 251 days of racing in 2015, according to a schedule it released Friday.

In an attempt to ease the stress on a smaller horse population, Aqueduct will conduct just 13 days of racing in March. Racing over Aqueduct’s inner track will be reduced to four-day weeks from Feb. 26 through March 22. Aqueduct will then take the final week of March (25-29) off before opening the main track April 1. Though NYRA has not released the Aqueduct spring stakes schedule, the Wood Memorial and Carter Handicap – the first two Grade 1 races on the calendar – will be run April 4.

The Belmont spring meet will last 59 days (April 29 to July 19), with the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, scheduled for June 6. The only change to the schedule is that Wednesday, June 3, will be dark so NYRA can hold a Midtown Manhattan draw for the Belmont Stakes.

The 40-day Saratoga meet will run from July 24 through Sept. 7, with enhancements to Whitney Day (Aug. 8) and Travers Day (Aug. 29) to be announced at a later date.

Belmont’s 38-day fall meet will be topped by the Jockey Club Gold Cup card Sept. 26. Aqueduct’s 39-day fall meet will run from Nov. 3 through Dec. 31 and be topped by the Cigar Mile card Nov. 28.

Next year’s Christmas break will be Dec. 21-25.

◗ Capital District OTB in upstate New York has partnered with WXXA-TV to place the Capital OTB television channel on that station’s two-tiered broadcast channel, thus increasing the number of households that can view the station to 550,000 from 350,000. This goes into effect Jan. 1.

Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
NYRA needs to get the laws changed to cut down on race dates as a whole to deal with declining foal crops. As I would be looking to do possible for winter 2015-'16: The Saturday after Thanksgiving would be the final day of racing until December 26. The period of December 26 until somewhere between January 1-4 (depending on where New Year's Day falls on the calendar) would see racing for 7-10 consecutive days with 10 races days and a Noon first post. After New Year's, the rest of January and all of February would see racing on Saturdays and Sundays ONLY (plus Monday programs on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents Day). These would be 10 race programs in January and 11 race programs in February (except for Super Bowl Sunday, which would be eight races) with first post remaining at Noon. March would see Friday racing return to the schedule with nine races on Fridays and 11 races on Saturdays and Sundays with first post at Noon until the clocks change (12 Races and 11:30 AM first post on Gotham Day) and first post moved to 1:20 PM once the clocks change. If NYRA is able to start turf racing in March, one race is added to each program when there is such. Should Palm or Easter Sunday fall in this period, there is racing on the preceding Thursday. April would see Thursday racing return with eight races on Thursdays, nine on Fridays, 11 on Saturdays and 10 on Sundays with first post remaining at 1:20 PM (including Wood Memorial Day, which would be 12 races with the last race of that program around 7:35 PM that would allow for the Wood Memorial to be shown in prime time on NBC if Comcast so desired). This to me would make more sense.
Larry Kaufman More than 1 year ago
why would there be a break the last week of march, even a idiot like mr toys r us has to know the worst weather is jan and feb. why not take a break then when most winter cards are canceled. mr toys r us has no clue, i will do the job for half of what nyra is paying him.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Main reason is the Wood Memorial next year is on April 4. This year, bad weather prevented NYRA from having the turf course ready and as a result, the Wood card suffered badly from lack of horses. Also, many horses who have been racing all winter are often being laid off and NYRA hasn't gotten the influx of horses from Florida that usually go to Kentucky first for the spring meet at Keeneland and Derby week at Churchill before coming to Belmont afterwards, so a week off in March makes sense.