Photo by Dave Warner – Horses race down the backstretch at the Saratoga Race Course.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, in conjunction with the New York Racing Association, today announced that Saratoga Race Course will re-open to fans at near full capacity when the 2021 summer meet commences on July 15. 

The historic Saratoga Race Course is one of the Capital Region’s most storied attractions, drawing over a million New Yorkers and visitors to Saratoga Springs each summer,” Governor Cuomo said. “The racing season is quickly approaching, and this year we are excited to welcome fans back to the course with free admission on Opening Day for any individual who shows proof of vaccination. This is all part of New York’s rebirth and resurgence as we continue to build back better and stronger from this pandemic.”

 In order to re-open Saratoga Race Course to fans at near full percent capacity, NYRA will designate most sections for vaccinated fans only, including the popular Saratoga backyard. This policy aligns with current New York State guidance for large outdoor sports and entertainment venues, which allows for fully vaccinated sections to operate at full capacity without social distancing measures in place.  

Alternatively, NYRA will designate a small number of hospitality and seating areas for non-vaccinated fans. Fans in these sections will be required to observe social distancing guidelines and to wear a face-covering at all times during their day at Saratoga Race Course.  

In addition, all fans who show proof of vaccination through Excelsior Pass – the state’s free, fast, and verifiable way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination – on Opening Day, Thursday, July 15, will receive free grandstand general admission. Fans can also present alternate forms of proof of vaccination, including paper forms such as their CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, to redeem the free admission.   

Visitors to the Saratoga Race Course who are under the age of 16 years old will be allowed to accompany fully vaccinated adults anywhere throughout the track. If not accompanying a fully vaccinated adult, they will be required to stay within the non-vaccinated areas.

NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said, “NYRA thanks Governor Cuomo for the opportunity to welcome fans back to Saratoga Race Course for what is sure to be an unforgettable summer at Saratoga Race Course.”

Unvaccinated NYRA personnel who interact with patrons will be subject to a diagnostic test prior to opening day and will be regularly tested thereafter. Unvaccinated NYRA personnel who do not interact with patrons will not be subject to a diagnostic test prior to opening day or after, however, they will be required to wear masks and follow standard DOH and CDC social distancing rules.

The 2021 summer meet at the Saratoga Race Course will run from July 15 through September and will feature 76 stakes worth $21.5 million in total purses. Tickets will go on sale on June 9.

Excelsior Pass, which is now being utilized by venues, universities, stadiums, and businesses statewide, is a fast, free, and secure way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results that’s supporting New Yorkers building back better and safer. Users interested in opting in to use Excelsior Pass, which currently has a Vaccination Pass and two different Test Pass options, can learn more here. Interested businesses and organizations can opt-in and learn more here and download digital marketing assets here to help demonstrate to patrons and customers that their business accepts Excelsior Pass. New Yorkers can always present alternate forms of COVID-19 vaccination and negative test results, such as paper forms.