Saratoga Casino Hotel to Reopen on September 9

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

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

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

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.

Owner Protocols for Live Racing and Backstretch Access

July 18th, 2020

In accordance with the Addendum to the Interim Guidance for Racing Activities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency issued by the New York State Gaming Commission, Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc. is implementing the following Owner Protocols to allow limited attendance at live racing events or training sessions beginning Wednesday, July 22, 2020. For the purposes of this section, the term owner shall mean a Commission-licensed owner.
Attendance Limitation
 Owners with a horse entered to race may only attend on the date of the race.
 No other spectators shall be admitted, including guests of owners and children.
 No owner shall be allowed in the stable or backstretch areas of a racetrack except in conformance with guidance regarding attendance during training hours.
Determination of Ownership
 Once the overnight list is published, the owners of horses entered may email [email protected] to make a reservation to attend live racing. The email must include the owner’s name as it appears on the Commission license, license number and phone number. Alternatively, they may call 518-581-5747. The following deadlines apply:
Race Day Reservations Close
Monday Friday at 1 p.m.
Tuesday Monday at 1 p.m.
Wednesday Tuesday at 1 p.m.
Qualifiers Monday at 1 p.m.
Please do not call the Race Office for reservations.
 The license status of the owner shall be confirmed and a roster of all owners authorized to be admitted each day will be issued.
Admissions Protocol
 To attend any live racing event, reservations to attend must be made in
 No same day admissions shall be accepted.
 If reservations are made via electronic mail, an email confirmation will be sent to the owner.
 Owners will park in the South Casino Parking lot (lot closest to the covered entrance to the Lower Club).
 Each owner shall present to the check point in the Lower Club. Positive
identification for each owner (valid NYS Gaming Commission Owner’s License) must be presented and confirmed.
Health Testing Protocol
 Each owner shall receive a non-invasive temperature test and be asked
general COVID-19-related health questions.
 Anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4°F or above will be required to have a secondary temporal temperature screening. Anyone with two confirmed temperature readings of 100.4°F or above shall not be permitted entry.
 No owner who fails to pass the COVID-19-related health questions may be
permitted entry.
 Following passing of the health protocol, each owner shall receive a color coded wrist band that is identifiable for that particular race day.
General Attendance Requirements
 Owners shall always wear a face mask covering both the nostrils and the
mouth while on the grounds of a racetrack.
 Appropriate social distancing shall be practiced.
 The racetrack shall provide touchless hand sanitizer dispensers throughout any area open for owners.
 Neither the grandstand nor any box area shall be used for seating of any kind.
 Owners may sit in outdoor seating areas and must practice physical distancing of six feet between groups.
 While owners may observe races from the apron area in the front of a
grandstand, they shall maintain physical distancing from others.
Paddock Access
 Until further notice, owners may not enter the Paddock.
Winner’s Circle
 Owners of the winning horse will be allowed in the Winner’s Circle, provided they maintain a proper social distancing from others.
 To ensure the safety of everyone in the Winner’s Circle, one person from the Paddock (either the trainer or designated groom) will ride to the winner’s circle to hold the horse for the photo.
Limited to Owners
 Only owners shall be admitted to the backstretch during training hours. No guests shall be permitted.
Training hours are as follows and are subject to change according to the live racing schedule:
Monday and Tuesday 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Thursday through Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Access Restrictions
 To access any backstretch location, an owner must pre-register at least 48
hours prior to his/her first planned visit to the backstretch so his/her name
can be added to the Master List. Owners may pre-register by emailing
[email protected] or by calling 518-581-5747 Monday through
Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. The following information will be needed for inclusion on the Master List: name as it appears on Commission license, license number, date of birth, gender, mailing address, phone number and email address.
 Ownersshall be required to display their Commission license at the Stable
Gate to gain entrance.
 Driver’s licenses will be scanned for contact tracing purposes.
Health Testing Protocol
 Each owner shall receive a non-invasive temperature test and be asked
general COVID-19-related health questions.
 Anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4°F or above will be required to have a secondary temporal temperature screening. Anyone with two confirmed temperature readings of 100.4°F or above shall not be permitted entry.
 Owners will be required to complete a COVID-19-related health
questionnaire each time they enter the Stable Gate.
Location Limitations
 Owners with horses stabled on the grounds of a racetrack will otherwise be permitted to watch their horses during training.
 Neither any grandstand nor any box area shall be used for seating of any kind during attendance at training sessions.
General Attendance Requirements
 All owners shall wear a face mask covering both the nostrils and the mouth while on the grounds of a racetrack.
 Appropriate social distancing shall be practiced.
 Owners shall not be permitted to watch races from a barn area.
 Any owner found violating restrictions is subject to racetrack and Commission disciplinary proceedings.
 Any owner accessing the backstretch should be mindful of restricting
engagement with all other personnel unless proper social distancing can be

SCH & SHHA Meet to Discuss Owners Ability to View Racing

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

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

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

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 Revised

June 24th, 2020

For Qualifiers and Pari-mutuel Races
1, 4, 7, 10 and 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, 8, 11 and 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 and 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)