12/21/2010 3:49PM

NYRA racetracks granted 250 racing dates for 2011

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The New York State Racing and Wagering Board on Tuesday approved 250 live racing dates at the three tracks operated by the New York Racing Association for 2011, three fewer dates than NYRA was scheduled to hold this year.

Under the schedule, NYRA will drop two Wednesday cards from the spring-summer meet at Belmont, which is slated to run from April 29 to July 17. In addition, NYRA will drop one card from the winter meet at Aqueduct, which begins on Jan. 1 and ends on April 23.

Dan Silver, a NYRA spokesperson, said that the association would not comment about the plan to drop two dates during the Belmont meeting, citing the need for its board to approve the Belmont schedule later this year as well as the association’s stakes schedule following the Aqueduct winter meet.

A number of U.S. racetracks have been reducing live racing days because of significant difficulties in filling races over a five-day or six-day per-week schedule. The difficulties are expected to be exacerbated in upcoming years because of recent declines in the foal crop.

Also under the schedule, NYRA will hold a 40-day meet at Saratoga for the second consecutive year, racing six days per week. In 2009, the Saratoga meet was 36 days. NYRA will also start two Friday cards during the Saratoga meet at 2:30 p.m., on July 29 and Sept. 2, instead of its usual post time of 1 p.m.