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Oklahoma Training Track open to workouts next Thursday

Oklahoma Training Track open to workouts next Thursday

Horses and backstretch workers will begin arriving on Tuesday
Oklahoma Training Track open to workouts next Thursday
The Oklahoma Training Track in Saratoga Springs will be open for workouts starting next Thursday.
Photographer: Erica Miller

The Oklahoma Training Track across Union Avenue from Saratoga Race Course will be open for workouts starting next Thursday.

The New York Racing Association will open the Oklahoma barn area next Tuesday so horsemen can begin to get settled in.

Training at the Oklahoma typically runs from mid-April to early fall and was scheduled to begin on April 15 this year, but NYRA announced on April 8 that the opening would be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The racing season at Saratoga Race Course is still scheduled to begin on Thursday, July 16, but there is the question of whether spectators will be allowed on the grounds.

The Oklahoma and Whitney Viewing Stand will be closed to owners and the public. Access will be restricted to essential personnel duly licensed by NYRA and the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC).

In consultation with the NYSGC and state and local public health officials, NYRA has implemented a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols designed to protect and mitigate risk for employees, horsemen, backstretch workers and the Saratoga community, NYRA said in a release.

All personnel working at the Oklahoma Training Track must test negative for COVID-19 or test positive for the antibodies for COVID-19. This applies to both local personnel as well as those arriving from other regions.

All personnel licensed and approved to be on the property will be required to complete a daily health screening and temperature check conducted by trained EMTs.

Face masks or coverings and adherence to strict social distancing measures will be mandatory at all times. Masks and personal protective equipment will be provided.

Live racing on the NYRA circuit is scheduled to resume next Wednesday at Belmont Park, spectator-free, for the first time since a March 15 card at Aqueduct, where racing was conducted for three days spectator-free before the meet was suspended entirely.

The Belmont spring/summer meet had been scheduled to begin on April 24. As part of the condensed stakes schedule for 25 racing days, the Belmont Stakes has been moved from June 6 to June 20 and will serve as the first leg of the Triple Crown, instead of its customary position as the third leg.

Workouts at the Belmont Park training track had continued uninterrupted through the suspension of racing, and on May 12 training on the Belmont main track resumed, six days a week. Sunday training on the main track will begin again in two days.

Reach Mike MacAdam at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

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