(The Record) – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced an adjustment of racing dates for the 2019 Belmont Park spring/summer meet and the Saratoga summer meet to ensure the continuity of racing operations in New York in light of proposed timelines for the construction of a new arena at Belmont Park.
The adjustment is based on initial timelines presented by Empire State Development (ESD) and the New York Arena Partners (NYAP) for the potential construction of an arena for the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders at Belmont Park.
In addition to the Belmont schedule, the NYSGC approved the 2019 Saratoga meet to begin on Thursday, July 11 and run through Labor Day, Monday, September 2. There will be no change to the number of live racing days at Saratoga. That number will remain at 40, the same since 2010.
I didn’t grow up around Toga and all of the Track SZN magic that comes along with it, but as an adopted son of the Saratoga summer life, I have mixed feelings on this.
On the one hand, we have a significantly shorter wait to lose bets on horses running in circles, witching hours at the Horseshoe, and late nights on Caroline street. Also, while 2019 will have the same amount of total track days as usual, the new schedule gives us 2 extra full track weekends in place of pointless Mondays. Overall, it’s good news. Unfortunately, the flip side of this coin has a harshly exciting reality I’ve come to realize.
Fourth of July happens to land on a Thursday this year, the best possible day it can be on. Get Thursday off, take Friday off, you’ve got yourself a full, 4-day, All-American weekend. Whether you’re on a lake or at the beach, you’re sure to enjoy mid summer with quite a few drinks and log plenty of hours in the sun. I’ve grown accustomed to going all-out, full-send, fuck-it mode for the 4th, being that it is my favorite holiday. Until now, I’ve known I have a few weeks to recoup and prepare mentally and physically for the shenanigans that come with Saratoga Track season.
That recuperation period will not exist in 2019. It’s like one of those evil Metabolic workouts with no transition time between exercises where I look around like “What the hell is going on?”. Exactly 1 week after the 4th of July, Track Season is going to hit us square in the face and/or liver and/or wallet. I have no doubt the 2BD squad and I are up for the gauntlet of Capital Region summer fun coming to us, but to all those 20-somethings out there chomping at the bit for summer 2019, be prepared because this year it truly is a marathon, not a sprint.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for the extended track season and you should be to, but I’m just very woke to the fact that I will be physically, mentally, and emotionally SPENT by the time the final horses cross the finish line. Be excited, tell your friends, make your plans, but you’ve been warned…summer is coming.