January 2021

Significant Items Currently Being Worked:

  • Working with SCRI, Legal (Sarah Burger), our Assemblywoman (Carrie Woerner), and the NYSGC to obtain purse payment from Rivers for CY2020.  This is our highest priority at present.
  • We are currently working with Legal and SCRI to modify our current contract to document changes in our racing schedule for CY2021 due to current purse projections as a result of impacts from the pandemic.  These changes are for 2021 ONLY.
  • The NYSGC recently issued new standards for backstretch housing (dorms).  The Board is currently working with SCRI to evaluate impacts and determine a go forward plan.  

Other Items:

  • The Main Track will now be open Tuesday through Saturday from 6 am until 1 pm and the Jog Track will be open Sunday through Saturday from 6 am until 1 pm.
  • We have begun discussions regarding the potential to initiate a pension plan for our horsemen.  More information will be forthcoming .
  • SCRI plans to issue a Horseperson’s Handbook covering rules and requirements which will be applicable to anyone using the backstretch/racing facilities.  The SHHA is currently working with SCRI to finalize the document which is expected to be issued in February.
  • The Horseracing Safety and Integrity Act (HSIA) recently passed; currently it only affects thoroughbreds – continue to monitor potential impacts to standardbreds
  • Complete tree trimming associated with the Jog Track improvements – Spring
  • Replace/upgrade Main Track fence – Spring/Summer

Racing Schedule for 2021:

  • Pending approval by the NYSGC, we currently anticipate opening on Monday, March 1st.  We are currently expecting to race three (3) days per week, for a minimum of thirty-three (33) races per week through December 15th.  Racing is planned for Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at noon (except for Wednesdays being evenings during the anticipated Saratoga Flat racing meet). 
  • Based on our current purse account balance and on currently available information, we anticipate racing for purses at approximately 75% of 2019 purse structure.
  • Qualifiers are scheduled for noon on Tuesday Feb. 16, Friday Feb. 19 and Tuesday Feb 23.  Once racing resumes qualifiers will be held on Tuesdays at 4:30pm

General Items:

  • We are pleased to welcome Mr. John Hoagland to our Board.  He will serve a three year term.
  • Based on feedback from several of our horsemen, we have decided Thomas McTygue to will be the Horsemen’s Representative (HR) for this year (cell 518-365-7113).  Please see the posting for his responsibilities as we currently have them envisioned.
  • Also based on feedback from the majority of our members, we will be working to improve our communications and transparency to the membership.  We are planning to provide a memo within a few days of each Board meeting which summarizes the significant items covered at each meeting.  These memos will be posted in the Track Kitchen/ Recreation Room, in the Paddock during the race meet, on the SHHA Facebook page, and on the SHHA website.  In addition to that information, we will also include the date, time, and location of the next scheduled Board meeting.

Should you desire to bring an item to the attention of the Board at its next meeting, please contact our Administrative Assistant Karen Kamal (cell = 518-775-0975) at least five (5) days prior to the scheduled meeting.  She will provide you with a time slot near the beginning of the meeting to present your item.  If you have material you would like the Board to review, please also provide that information to Karen so she can provide it to the Board members in advance of the meeting.

  • The Board currently has several committees (see separate posting) 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!

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 and we will work to improve our communications and transparency as we move forward this year.  We all hope 2021 is our best year yet, and certainly, at least much better than 2020!  Thank you, in advance, for your support!

Our next meeting is currently scheduled for Thursday, February 18th at 12:30 in the Recreation Room adjacent to the Track Kitchen.

The SHHA Board of Directors

The Horsemen’s Representative (HR), Thomas McTygue, is the primary interface between the SHHA Board of Directors (Board) and the other members of the SHHA with respect to concerns and issues regarding the raceway grounds and racing, and for communications regarding information pertinent to racing activities.  The HR shall interface with the Board and with Saratoga Casino Racing Incorporated (SCRI) personnel as necessary to fulfill his role.  Additional specific duties of the HR shall include the following:

  • Be available to horsepersons on the Saratoga backstretch a minimum of two (2) hours per day six (6) days per week between the hours of 8:00 and 12:00;
  • periodically visit one (1) local farm every other week on a rotating basis for a minimum of one (1) hour;
  • be available in the Paddock each race day for a minimum of two (2) hours,
  • attend regular Board meetings (approximately one per month) and present to the Board a report of current activities and any new issues that may have occurred since the last meeting and,
  • if so requested by the Board attend periodic meetings with SCRI Management, special meetings of the Board, meetings with SHHA Legal, or others involved with the racing industry.  In addition, the HR may periodically be asked by the Board to undertake special projects in support of the horsemen.

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