Archive for the ‘Newsletter’ Category

COVID-19 Reopening

Saturday, June 6th, 2020

Qualifiers for local trainers will be June 13th and Racing resumes June 18th with a noon post. Open qualifiers will be held after the races on June 18th The SHHA would like to thank the local trainers for attending the reopening session. Trainers and their staff must review the Covid-19 training pamphlet, each must sign the Covid training acknowledgement form, along with the Info for Master List form. The trainers must collect all completed forms from their staff and service providers and return the forms to the stable gate by Thursday June 11th. Please provide all licensed essential employees with the Covid Questionnaire form, so they may have a completed form to present to Security when having their temperature taken at the stable gate everyday.

Saratoga Harness Reopening Process Timeline as of May 30, 2020

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

Members of SHHA and the management team of Saratoga Casino Raceway (SCR) have been working together throughout the closure to try to get racing back as soon as possible after the Covid-19 related closure on March 22, 2020. There appears to be questions as to the efforts being taken by SCR and SHHA to be as prepared as possible for the earliest safe reopening possible. The following timeline hopefully will answer many of the current questions/concerns and bring everyone up to date.

3/22 Tracks are closed for horse racing by the NYS Gaming Commission (NYSGC) by Executive Order of the Governor.

4/2 NYSGC issues a memo to tracks and Horseperson Organizations about continuing operations including appropriate procedures for items including Racetrack Access (ie: no owner visitation allowed, gate access restrictions that had to be put in place by SCR to meet the memo standards).

4/3 SCR contacts SHHA to form a reopening committee to address issues as they evolve to be as prepared as possible for reopening consideration. Through the month of April several conference calls took place, communications with the NYSGC occurred and a formal plan was developed for presentation for reopening consideration. This preparation included an analysis of the purse account balance and estimated future funding and expenses to determine the feasibility of a prompt reopening. The plan was reviewed with the Race Secretary and it was determined that reopening with initial months modified dates and reduced purse levels was viable for SCR. The plan at that point in time was being prepared with the hope that a May 1 reopening date would be considered.

4/24 NYSGC issued a memo to tracks that reopening would not be considered until no earlier than 5/15. Issuance of our plan was put on hold until further developments were received.

5/7 NYSGC requested advance reopening plans be forwarded from tracks for their review ahead of the release of their “official “guidelines. The SCR report in its then current form was submitted to demonstrate our preparedness based on the information then available.

5/15 Governor announces that racetracks can be considered for safe reopening as of June 1.

5/27 NYSGC released their version of Guidelines for Racing Activities. Many of the provisions were included in our plan from a few weeks earlier however several specific elements that are NYS Dept. of Health driven are also included.

5/28-29- SCR working on rewording the procedures document to address item by item the Commission Guidelines. Since it is almost certain that we should anticipate a visit and review by the NYSGC and Dept. of Health it appeared to make the most sense to not push our own version as some tracks are and incorporate our previous plans into the NYSGC format. There are some elements of the Guidelines that we believe should be modified and are providing feedback to the NYSGC on those. An example being the testing procedures included for ship-ins. It appeared proper for us to include our local farm participants under the same rules related to the on track horsepersons since they have already routinely shipped in and out on a regular basis. That would exempt them from the Covid test requirement and put them in the temperature test and questionnaire requirement. This was addressed with the NYSGC and it was agreed that we can follow our suggested procedure with the recommendation of isolating the ship-ins as much as possible. It is the opinion of SCR and SHHA that the original document submitted in early May addressed many of the current requirements and any necessary modifications to be in line with the new guidelines can be timely incorporated into the document to be prepared for reopening.

6/2 the revised plan will be completed and a copy forwarded to SHHA for review and input. On June 4 a meeting or conference call will occur between SHHA representatives and SCR management to discuss any potential open issues and come to an agreement on the final operating policies and procedures document. That document will be available for distribution to all the SHHA members after any final changes are made, likely by June 5 or 6. At the same time the final required paperwork will be submitted to the NYSGC along with our proposed schedule date changes for at least June and July (two days a week). A general meeting of membership will be scheduled at the backstretch on June 6, details to be announced, to review the required procedures and any questions.

The plans mentioned as of the date of this memo forward are anticipated but subject to change as events related to the Covid issues change frequently for all businesses. Because of the volatility of the current events, there has been a hesitation to release any proposed guidelines to this point since the directives being passed down to the tracks change constantly. Our track in particular has many additional considerations to be addressed that some do not since we have an active backstretch barn area including dorms. At this point hopefully this will serve to catch-up where we currently are and how we got here. It should be emphasized that SCR management has been supportive throughout along with

SHHA to try to get our local members back racing as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Joe Battaglia-SHHA Treasurer/Secretary

Sire Stakes Qualifiers and Shipping

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

At this time, NYS has the following policy in place for trainers shipping horses out and to be allowed to return to the Saratoga Casino Hotel backstretch.

Scroll down to Racing Activities, then click on Read and Affirm Detailed Guidelines.

This information is on page 5

Transport Out.  Trainers may ship to run horses at another racing facilities provided the trainer and their staff does not accompany the horse to the other track. Therefore, trainers must hire a shipper to transport the horse, designate a trainer to care and race the horse and use a driver from the other track.  The shipper may return the horse to the original racetrack property.  In this case, the ship-in policy will be followed.

Ship In. Shippers will access the racetrack property at the common gate and COVID 19 protocol will be followed. If the driver is cleared through the screening, they will be able to proceed onto the grounds to unload the horse. If the driver is not cleared, then the horse is unloaded outside the racetrack grounds into the custody and control of the trainer’s present on track licensed personnel.

Several parties are working to get this requirement changed, but until it is changed, it currently remains in effect.

Schooling Scheduled for June 1st and June 8th

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

There will be schooling on Monday June 1 and June 8 at 10:30am on the main track. Only 2YO’s (or green 3YOs) jogging. The gate will not be opening and closing. Each set will consist of a maximum of 6 horses. Please sign up at the McGivern Stable.

Attention Horsemen Stabled on the Backstretch

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Saratoga Casino Hotel and Raceway will allow “local” shippers and farm managers to pick up and drop off horses for turnout at near by farms, provided the following procedures are followed:

Trainers must notify the stable gate with the name of farm/shipper, horse(s) name and the scheduled time the transport will arrive.

When the shipper arrives, he or she will turn around after entering the stable gate and pull off to the side. The shipper must remain in the vehicle.

The trainer will unload or load the horse(s).

Stable Gate staff will record the horse(s) leaving for and returning from turnout on the daily log.

COVID 19 and Harness Racing

Friday, March 20th, 2020

Please be advised that the SHHA Board of Directors are attempting to obtain information pertaining the local and state directives concerning COVID 19 and it’s effect on all. The Board plans to meet in two weeks and will have information to share with our members the following day.

Thomas McTygue

Pennsylvania Governor wants horse racing revenue from Slots for other use

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

Pennsylvania may divert the horse racing revenue from slot machines to subsidize college scholarships. Visit

There is poll in the right margin regarding the issue.


Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Qualifiers will be held at 1:00 PM on Wed. Feb 5, Sat Feb 8 and Wed Feb 12.

Thursday Feb. 20th qualifiers begin at 9:15AM.

Beginning, Saturday Feb 29th the qualifiers will begin at 12:30PM.

Racing begins Sunday February 16th – 12:00PM post.

2019 Awards

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

2019 Year End Awards

Driver of the Year     Billy Dobson                                 

Trainer of the Year Melissa Beckwith

Horseman of the Year   Mark Beckwith                      

Horsewoman of the Year  Michelle Crawford

Johnny Page Award Driver Breakthrough      Steeven Genois

Peerless McGrath Award Trainer Breakthrough       Lisa Zabielski

2yr old Pacer                                                   Chuppah On                            

3yr old Pacer                                                    Chase You

Filly/Mare Claiming Pacer                           Pancakes

Claiming Pacer  ($7,500-12,500)                  Cool Jack

Claiming Pacer  ($15,000 and up)              Howmacsblackjack

Pacer of the Year                                            Crockets Cullen N

Filly/Mare Pacer of the Year                        Happy Heart                                             

2yr old Trotter                                                 C and T’s Credit                                

3yr old Trotter                                                  Powerscourt

Claiming Trotter                                               I M Fishin

Trotter of the Year                                           Cash Me Out

Trainers Nominate a Groom

Friday, November 8th, 2019

Groom of the Year Award- Trainers please forward a letter explaining your reason a groom from your stable deserves to be nominated for the Groom of the Year.  The deadline is November 30, 2019. Nominations may be sent to Saratoga Harness Horsepersons Assoc PO Box 171 Saratoga Springs NY 12866.