DRB is based out of New York state, so while the acronym NYRA is common to us, there may be others who aren’t so familiar with the organization. For the uninitiated we offer this brief profile as an introduction.
The New York Racing Association was founded in 1955, and is headquartered in Jamaica, NY. It is a not-for-profit that operates the three largest thoroughbred horse racing tracks in the state of New York. NYRA is separate from the governing body that oversees racing in New York. That dubious task belongs to the New York State Gaming Commission.
Under the NYRA umbrella are three of the most storied thoroughbred tracks in American racing. Saratoga Race Course in beautiful upstate New York opened in 1863. Aqueduct Race Track which operates in South Ozone Park, Queens began racing in 1894. Belmont Part in Elmont first opened its gates in 1905.
These tracks are in operation (for the most part) year round. Belmont goes from May until Mid July, and then back for their fall meet (after Saratoga closes) September through October. Saratoga runs for six glorious weeks, from mid July to Labor Day. Aqueduct handles the winter months, with racing from November to the end of April.
It comes as no surprise to DRB that while Saratoga has the shortest racing schedule of the three tracks, it is the ‘cash cow’ of the NYRA triad. You need look no farther than last year to prove that out; In 2017 Aqueduct had a total betting handle (that is all sources wagering on races at the specific track) of $303,182,961 dollars, Belmont Park in it’s dual seasons handled $595,000,000 in wagering. Meanwhile in a quaint little town north of Albany, over one million people attended the races over the six week meet, and the total handle was a whopping $676,709,490! That’s a lot of hay.
Racing at Saratoga begins Friday, July 20th.