12/12/2014 3:49PM

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.