Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Dogs Prohibited From Backstretch

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

A decision has been made regarding dogs in the Backstretch. As we know dogs were never allowed back here and there are signs posted as you come in stating so. At some point this was overlooked and Security did not enforce this rule. Prior to the handbook coming out we asked that if you currently brought a dog onto the Backstretch to register the animal. The plan was to grandfather those dogs in and not allow anymore dogs after that. We received less responses then the actual number of dogs we have on the property. This past year we have had more issues with dogs on the Backstretch. Incidents include of dogs attacking other dogs and staff as well as dogs running unsupervised on and near the jog track. Security has had to stop dogs from running onto Nelson avenue in the past. So it was determined that based on current and past incidents ALL DOGS for the safety and good working order of the Backstretch registered or not will not be allowed on the grounds. This will go into effect Friday 6/11/2021. Please do not bring or attempt to bring any dog into the Backstretch on or after 6/11/2021 you will be stopped at the Stable gate and sent out. Any dog found on the Backstretch or in a vehicle will be in violation of the Horseperson’s Handbook General rules page 3 Section (F) which addresses the Animal policy.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.

Charles Astarita

Saratoga Casino Hotel

SHHA May 2021 Communication

Friday, May 21st, 2021

Significant Items:

  • SCRI has determined the closure date for the backstretch dorm to be June 1, 2021.  All current permanent residents have been notified and SCRI has contacted all recent part-time and/or non-permanent residents regarding the closure date.  SCRI and SHHA are continuing to assist these personnel during the transition period.  Mickey McGivern has the lead for this item.
  • We are continuing to work on establishing a pension plan for our local horsemen.  Actions in progress include preparing the legal documents necessary to establish the plan.  We are expecting the final documents to be issued during May.  John Hoagland has been at the track periodically to answer questions and take applications.  All personnel who submitted an application will be notified by letter as to their status regarding acceptance in the plan.  John Hoagland has the lead for this item.
  • The racing scheduled as currently envisioned is to continue our current schedule through July 14th.  Beginning July 19th and for the duration of the Saratoga Thoroughbred Meet, we plan on racing Monday and Tuesday afternoons at 12:00 and Saturday evening, post time TBD.

General Items:

  • The Main Track will be open Monday through Wednesday from 6 am until 9:30 am and Thursday through Saturday from 6 am until 1 pm.  The Jog Track will be open Sunday through Saturday from 6 am until 1 pm.  If maintenance/weather necessitates a change to the current schedule trainers will be notified by Club Text message from SCRI.  Please call Amy Gentile (518-581-5747) if you need access to Club Text.
  • The Board currently has several committees which review and address relevant items with the rest of the Board and recommend actions to address these items.  You do not need to be a Board member to be on a committee, so if you would like to help out your fellow horse people please feel free to join a committee.  We would greatly appreciate your involvement and support!
  • SCRI has accepted our proposal to partner on several backstretch maintenance and improvement items.  Work has begun.  Tom McTygue has the lead for this initiative.
  • SCRI has awarded the Main Track Fence Replacement contract.  Materials are ordered and work will start when materials are delivered.  It is currently anticipated that work will begin at the end of June and take approximately two weeks.
  • We are currently working on getting two additional televisions installed in the paddock.  Jake Zakrzewski has the lead for this item.
  • For those SHHA members who are currently on the Health Insurance Plan you should be receiving a notification from BCBSNENY regarding a class action lawsuit.  If you have any questions, please contact our Administrative Assistant, Karen Kamal.  518-775-0975 or [email protected]
  • SCRI has requested that all trainers who have a horse win ensure that a groom or other individual travel to the Winner’s Circle to be with the horse while the photograph is taken.  Your cooperation in this matter is appreciated.

If you have any questions for the Board, please do not hesitate to contact one of the twelve (12) current Board members or the Horsemen’s Representative.  We would like to work together with you to support you in any way we reasonably can.  Thank you, in advance, for your support!

Our next meeting is currently scheduled for June 24, 2021 at 12:30 in the Recreation Room adjacent to the Track Kitchen.

The SHHA Board of Directors

Schooling schedule for May 20, 2021

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021
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Schooling Schedule Change

Thursday, May 13th, 2021

The schooling for 2yr olds scheduled for Thursday, May 20th will begin at 10:30AM The main track will close at 10:15AM until the schooling session is finished. If you need more information, please text 518-796-3915.

Service for Cynthia Milano

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Cynthia Ann Milano passed away on April 10, 2021 at the age of 62. Cynthia is the daughter of the late Marcella Lazar Califano and Felix (Phil) Milano. She is also predeceased by her older sister, Carol Ann (Milano) Villa and her precious black lab, Asia. Cynthia was a kind soul who had a tremendous heart for any animal that crossed her path of life. After graduation from Cobleskill Agricultural & Technical College, Cynthia pursued her dream of continuing to work with animals, and began her career training horses. Cynthia was a dedicated and accomplished trainer at Saratoga Harness. She trained River of Glory who succeeded as Trotter of the Year in 1993, and later in 1994, Cynthia was recognized as Horsewoman of the year. Cumulatively, she accomplished 487 wins and earned in excess of $2 million in winnings. Cynthia leaves behind an enormous void in our hearts, she is survived by her husband, Barry Segel and her brother Philip Milano, Sr. She was also the loving aunt to her niece, Talia (Eric), and nephews, PJ (Becky), Joel (Lisa), and Richard. In addition, Cynthia adored her many great- nephews and nieces, and her pup Bentley. The void extends beyond Cynthia’s immediate family as she is survived by her extended family, many colleagues, friends, and every animal that had crossed her path.

A funeral Service will be held at 5 pm on Sunday, May 16, 2021 at Compassionate Funeral Care, 402 Maple Ave. (Rte. 9 and/or Marion Ave.), Saratoga Springs, NY. Family and friends may call from 3 pm to 5 pm prior to the service at the funeral home. Her family requests that in lieu of flowers, that you consider a donation to Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program. You may do this by mailing a check to the following address: PHSAP office (Purple Haze StandardbredAdoption Program) PO Box 253, Oxford, NY 13830.

Backstretch Maintenance Next Week

Friday, May 7th, 2021

The tree service and asphalt company will be working on the backstretch next week. The work will begin towards the latter half of the week, at approximately 1:30PM. Tom McTygue will oversee the projects. If you have any questions or concerns contact Tom at 518-365-7113.

Rivers Casino Continues Payments

Friday, April 9th, 2021

State budget requires Rivers Casino to continue payments to Saratoga harness owners | The Daily Gazette

The budget includes Rivers making payments for 2020 over the next 12 months. Legislation provides that the horsepersons association will receive 3.3% of Rivers’ slot revenue to enhance harness racing purses, with another 0.5% going to a breeder’s fund. Future payments will be capped at the 2019 level — around $5 million. The money goes to enhanced racing purses and other harness racing expenses at Saratoga.

Contact Your NYS Representatives ASAP

Friday, March 12th, 2021

We’re not sure if you’ve heard–but Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposes to change the Casino enabling law to allow a Casino to limit, defer and reduce mandatory purse support payments to tracks that are within a Zone encompassed by the Casino. If this sounds like the start of some form of “decoupling” of track payments in NYS, you would be correct. The next step would be for a track itself that became a Casino to want to end its mandatory purse support payments to the horsemen racing there. Think Tioga and Monticello to start and then think MGM-Yonkers down the road.                                                                

 Those payments are in the enabling legislation, agreed to by all those that begged for the enactment of the Casino law! The payments were established in 2013 in recognition of the fact that agriculture, horse racing and breeding in NYS is a multi-billion dollar economic engine that employs tens of thousands of people, has a vast economic multiplier impact on our economy and would be adversely affected. Very wealthy individuals or corporations own and operate these Casinos and the effort, starting here, to allow them to take money from racing to enhance their bottom line even further, is like “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. The mandatory purse support payments were put into the law so that a Casino could operate and make money on the condition that they had to provide support payments to the purse account in order to offset the losses the racing industry would suffer when a Casino opened. The current proposal in the Governor’s Budget applies now only to the Rivers Casino but it will spread more rapidly than a pandemic and with more longer term dire economic consequences to agriculture, racing and the breeding industry than were caused by the current pandemic itself.  Take action and ask your state representative to reject this Budget proposal in its entirety. Today it will affect Saratoga Harness, tomorrow it will affect every track in NYS. A contact list of your representatives is attached. Your state assembly members and senators need to hear from you. You’ll be very sad if you don’t speak up at this critical time. 

Contact | NY State Senate (
Assembly Member Directory | New York State Assembly (

Thank you!

Sweetheart Deal for Rivers Casino – Show Your Support for the SHHA

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Home – Stop The Sweatheart Deal for Rivers Casino (

Let your NYS representatives know you support the the SHHA’s pursuit of funding from Rivers Casino. The NYS budget must be amended.

Read the Times Union

Monday, March 1st, 2021

There will be an article in the Times Union pertaining to obtaining supplemental purse payments from Rivers for CY2020 and beyond, including addressing the currently proposed item in the NYS Budget regarding these payments. 

As previously stated in our February update, a letter was issued (by Joe Battaglia and Sarah) to the Governor’s Budget Office on February 7th detailing the importance of those payments to our business and requesting resolution of this issue.  Joe testified on behalf of the SHHA at the Budget Hearing on February 23rd.   This item is our highest priority at present.