The New York Racing Association has been pursuing legislation which would allow it to run night-time racing at Belmont Park, revealed NYRA CEO and president Chris Kay on a Thoroughbred Daily News podcast this week. The bill actually passed through the New York Senate, but has yet to reach the State Assembly and so will not be acted upon until the 2018 session. That said, Kay suggested that Belmont could see night racing as soon as the 2018 fall meet.
“How do we bring more people to our NYRA tracks to enjoy all we've done over the last four years to make it a compelling experience?” asked Kay. “That's our challenge. That's precisely why we are trying to get approval from the legislature to get racing at night at Belmont two nights a week during both the spring and fall meets. Most young people are at work during the daytime. Most people, period, are at work during the daytime. If you've never been brought out to the track as a young boy or girl how do I get you to come out now? Well, I let you come out after work, just the way the Yankees and the Mets and the Red Sox do. On weekdays they have their events at night. I think that's the smart way for us to go in the future.”
Kay added that NYRA has already looked into a state-of-the-art lighting system for Belmont's track, an LED system with lighting that could be both muted and intensified. Night racing is not being considered for Saratoga, Kay said, because the track draws a different crowd that those at Belmont and Aqueduct.
Listen to the entire TDN podcast here.
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