Archive for the ‘Newsletter’ Category

Saratoga Casino Hotel to Reopen on September 9

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (September 8, 2020) – Saratoga Casino Hotel announced today that they will reopen their doors to the public tomorrow, Wednesday, September 9 at 2pm after being closed for nearly six months. The casino will be open from 2pm-10pm on Wednesday and 10am-2am beginning on Thursday.

Last week Governor Cuomo announced that casinos were permitted to reopen starting September 9 with a 25 percent occupancy limit and strict enforcements of guidelines including face coverings, social distancing, and enhanced air filtration and cleaning protocols.

“We’re ready,” said Alex Tucker, General Manager of Saratoga Casino Hotel. “We’ve been waiting and preparing for this day for a long time. We’re happy to have more team members back to work and be able to open our doors to our guests. We’re confident that our plan will allow us to deliver the fun and entertaining experience our guests have come to expect in a safe environment.”

Over the last several months, Saratoga Casino Hotel has developed a plan to implement physical modifications as well as policy and procedural changes to protect the health and safety of team members and guests. The highlights of their “Safe Bet Plan” plan include:

Cleaning & Sanitation

  • Heightened cleaning, sanitation and hygiene protocols involving the frequent cleaning and sanitation of high touchpoints, self-cleaning wraps and pads on door handles and crash bars, and nightly misting sanitation.
  • Use of MERV-13 air filters throughout the property.
  • Installation of several hand sanitation stations throughout property.
  • Enforcing social distancing guidelines through the use of floor guides and plexiglass barriers at guest service locations.
  • In-service slot machines will be spaced 6 feet apart. Any machine not available for play will be placed out-of-service and the chair will be removed to assist with social distancing.
  • Guests and team members will be required to wear masks while on property. Masks may only be removed when dining in designated locations.
  • Guests and team members will be screened upon entry with a non-invasive temperature scan. Guests may also opt to have their ID scanned for assistance with contact tracing.
  • All guests will be required to enter and exit through the south entrance, located near Crescent Avenue to assist with monitoring capacity.
  • Hours will be limited to 10am-2am to allow for enough time for proper disinfecting and sanitation.

Some casino amenities such as cocktail service, self-service beverage stations, Mane Bar, Garden Buffet and Vapor will remain closed at this time. The reopening of these amenities will be reevaluated as restrictions are lifted. The Hotel, Morton’s The Steakhouse and the Jackpot Deli with simulcasting are all currently open on the property as well.

For the full list of health and safety protocols, visit to review the “Safe Bet” Plan in its entirety. 

About Saratoga Casino Hotel:
Saratoga Casino Hotel, located on Crescent Avenue in Saratoga Springs, NY, features slot machines, a 117-room luxury hotel, electronic table games, Vapor, Morton’s® The Steakhouse, two full-service restaurants with buffets, a casual dining restaurant, three full-service bars, deli and a variety of guest services including valet parking and coat check. Simulcast wagering is available and live harness racing runs February through mid-December. Much of Saratoga Casino Hotel remains closed due to the pandemic, for information on what is open on property, please visit

6 More Race Dates in September

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

Saratoga Casino Hotel proposed additional 6 days of racing to the NYS Gaming Commission and today the dates were approved. Besides September 1 and 2nd, there will be racing on Mondays and Tuesdays; Sept 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29.

Condolences to the family of Kelley D. Ferguson

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

Kelley D. Ferguson,59, passed away on Thursday evening August 20th as a result of a motorcycle accident.

He was born in Schenectady, the son of the late Marshall and Marie (Kelley) Ferguson.

Kelley worked in the forestry and construction business for many years but his true passion was the standardbred horses he owned, trained and drove over the years at Saratoga Track. Kelley started working with horses with his dad Whitney and continued this through the years.

He was an avid hunter and a member of the United States Trotting Association.

He is survived by his son, sister, brother, nieces, nephew, great nieces and nephews and dear friends.  

 A celebration of Kelley’s life will be held on Saturday August 29th at 5 pm at Bond Funeral Home, Broadway & Guilderland Avenue, Schenectady, NY (COVID-19 restriction as to capacities, masks and social distancing). A visitation will be held at the funeral home from 2 to 5 pm prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the United States Trotting Association.

Security Protocol for Sale of Backstretch Horses

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020

Horsemen stabled on the backstretch at Saratoga who have horses to sell must contact Administrative Manager Charles Astarita, Backstretch Security, to coordinate access into the backstretch for the horse buyer. These visits must be scheduled in advance to ensure compliance with our COVID-19 policy on file with New York State.
Please make contact with Manager Astarita in advance (a minimum twenty-four hours) through the Stable Gate Guard to ensure he can determine a day and time where there is adequate staff to provide an escort for the horse buyer. Horse buyers cannot just show up and expect to be admitted.
The buyer must be COVID-19 screened at the Stable Gate by Security and then escorted by Security to the barn area where they are viewing/picking up the horse. The buyer must remain inside their vehicle. If they exit the vehicle for any reason they must maintain social distancing and wear a face mask when outside the vehicle. Buyers will not be allowed inside barns nor are they able to roam about freely. These visits must be as abbreviated as
possible due to the required escort.

SCH & SHHA Meet to Discuss Owners Ability to View Racing

Thursday, July 16th, 2020

Tomorrow, two members of the SHHA Board of Directors, Thomas McTygue and Jeffrey Cantine will meet with Saratoga Casino Hotel’s Racing Director John Matarazzo to discuss the current NYS COVID -19  protocol regarding owners inability to view their horses racing at the facility.  They will create guidelines pertaining to owners that will hopefully be accepted by NYS.  Please remember this takes time, so your  continued patience is greatly appreciated

Live Racing Dates for July 15th-Sept 2

Friday, July 10th, 2020

Month/Day Post

July 15 12:00PM

July 20 & 21 12:00PM

July 22 7:15 PM NYSS Card

July 27 &28 12:00PM

July 29 7:15PM

Aug 3 &4 12:00PM

Aug 5 7:15PM

Aug 10 12:00PM NYSS Card

Aug 11 12:00PM

Aug 12 7:15PM NYSS Card

Aug 17 &18 12:00PM

Aug 19 7:15PM

Aug 24 & 25 12:00PM

Aug 26 7:15PM NYSS Card

Aug 31 12:00PM

Sept 1 12:00PM

Sept 2 7:15PM NYSS Card

SHHA Board of Directors Nomination Forms Available

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

The following SHHA’s directors terms expire 12/31/20:
Brian Cross
Thomas McTygue
Mark Whitcroft

Want to be on the ballot?
If you are a current SHHA member- owner, trainer or driver interested in serving on the Saratoga Harness Horsepersons’ Board of Directors, please request a nomination form by email [email protected] or call 518-775-0975.
You must receive signatures from 25 current SHHA members, please attempt to obtain more than 25 signatures.

Forms must be postmarked no later than Sept. 1, 2020
Mailing address: SHHA PO Box 171 Saratoga Springs NY 12866

Revised Paddock Stall Assignments 6/24/20

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

***Revised 6/24/2020***


For Qualifiers and Pari-mutuel Races

1, 4, 7, 10 and 1311-1
 99 stall (same row as race 2)
2, 5, 8, 11 and 1412-1
 99 stall (same row as race 2)
3, 6, 9, 12 and 1517-2
 99 stall (same row as race 2)

Race Staging Procedures

Saturday, June 20th, 2020

Only three races will be in the Paddock at a time.  Please refer to the Lasix/Paddock Schedule for pari-mutuel Paddock times.  Please also review the Paddock Stall Assignments.

For pari-mutuel races, horses, trainers and grooms will be in the Paddock for approximately 30 to 45 minutes prior to the post time of their race. They may not come in earlier and must leave immediately after the race.

For qualifiers, horses, trainers and grooms will be in the Paddock for approximately15 minutes prior to the post time of their race and again, they may not come in earlier and must leave immediately after the race.

All warmups will be on the jog track before coming to the Paddock.

When your race is call up, gather all equipment and stage for departure.  If a horse is not one of the horses selected for testing, and the trainer is stabled on the grounds, the horse should be removed from the Paddock immediately after the race and returned to its barn.

If the horse is shipped in, and is not selected for testing the trainer/groom may bathe the horse in one of the Post 9 stalls(use every other stall)  If the Post 9 stall is not available, the trainer/groom should proceed immediately to one of the outside wash stalls in Barn C (previously the pool barn) to bathe the horse.  Shipped in horses racing in the last three races may return to their stall in Paddock to bathed.

If the horse is selected for testing NYSGC personnel will direct the trainer/groom to one of the designated bath stalls.

Bath Stalls for Horses Being Tested:

Races 1,4,7,10,13:  Use Race 6, stall #1 and #3

Races 2,5,8,11,14:  Use Race 6, stall #5 and #7

Races 3,6,9,12,15:  Use Race 8, stall #1 and #3

If more than two horses are selected for testing use Race 8, stall #5 and #7

PADDOCK STALL ASSIGNMENTS for Qualifiers and Pari-mutuel Races

RACES                            POST POSITION                   STALL                         

1, 4, 7, 10 & 13                1                                         1-1

                                          2                                         1-3

                                          3                                         1-5

                                         4                                         1-7      

                                          5                                         3-2

                                          6                                         3-4

                                          7                                          3-6

                                          8                                          3-8

                                          9                              9 stall same row as race 3


  2, 5, 7, 11 & 14             1                                           2-1

                                         2                                           2-3

                                         3                                           2-5

                                         4                                           2-7

                                         5                                           4-2

                                       6                                           4-4

                                        7                                           4-6

                                         8                                           4-8

                                         9                              9 stall same row as race 2


3, 6, 9, 12 & 15                 1                                              5-1

                                           2                                              5-3

                                           3                                              5-5

                                            4                                              5-7

                                            5                                              7-2

                                            6                                              7-4

                                            7                                              7-6

                                            8                                              7-8

                                           9                              9 stall same row as race 3

NYS Racing Licensing

Thursday, June 11th, 2020

Licensing by Appointment – An appointment system to get people licensed at the N.Y.S. Gaming Commission Racing Office at the Saratoga Casino Hotel on 342 Jefferson Street, Saratoga Springs.  Appointments will be June 8-12, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, applicants must call the following number during regular business hours: 518-388-3457.

Documents Needed

To make the process clean and quick, applicants must bring a completed License Application, Proof of Identification, and Request for Card Scan Services – Information Form.  Other forms may be necessary, depending on circumstance.  The failure to bring completed forms will likely result in the cancellation of an applicant appointment. 

The Commission has a document that explains what is necessary to successfully navigate the licensing process.  That document may be found at the following link:

  • Instruction for Harness Racing Applicants

The various required Commission forms may be found at the following links:

  • Commission Racing License Application

  • Commission Proof of Identification Checklist

  • Request for Card Scan Services – Information Form

If applicable, the license applicant must also bring the following completed forms:

  • Investigator’s Supplement IS-1 Form

  • Parental Consent Form

  • State Public Employees Information Form


  • Certification of Compliance CS-1

Required PPE

An applicant will be denied access to the Commission Racing Office if they fail to wear a mask.  No masks will be provided for applicants.