The New York Racing Association will cap paid attendance for the Aug. 29 Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course at 50,000.
This policy will be in place whether Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is in the race or not.
All Travers Day reserved seating, dining and clubhouse admission are already sold out. Grandstand general admission tickets are available for $10 online at Ticketmaster.com, in person at the Saratoga box office and by phone at 1-844-NYRA-TIX. There is a purchase limit of eight general admission tickets per person.
Anyone who bought a season pass will be admitted to the Travers. NYRA has sold about 8,400 of those, and that number will be accounted for when calculating the 50,000 cap.
NYRA spokesman John Durso Jr. said there were still about 17,000 grandstand general admission tickets available as of noon on Thursday.
Travers Day drew 46,557 last year and has not had a crowd of at least 50,000 since a record turnout of 66,122 in 2003. Including 2003, Travers Days has hit the 50,000 number just five times since 1978.
“There is one big difference between Belmont Park and Monmouth and Saratoga,” Durso said. “There is no rail line that serves Saratoga. Anyone that would arrive would have to do it by car or by foot, and we’re very mindful of the impact that a major race like this and the high attendance could have on our local community.
“We’ve met with an engineer as well as an architect to ensure that we can hold a certain number.”
Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., hosted the Haskell Invitational last Sunday, won by American Pharoah. The track announced a record attendance of 60,983.
Belmont Park had myriad customer service problems for last year’s Belmont Stakes, when California Chrome was chasing the Triple Crown, so NYRA implemented a 90,000 attendance cap this year. The day went much more smoothly, as American Pharoah won the Belmont to complete the first Triple Crown in 37 years,
Owner Ahmed Zayat has said that he wants to run Pharoah in the Travers. The final decision will be made by trainer Bob Baffert, probably not before sometime next week at the earliest.
American Pharoah has been walking the shedrow at Del Mar in California since the Haskell and likely will get back on the track for a jog Friday.
NYRA would bump the Travers purse from $1.25 million to $1.6 million if Pharoah runs.