Saratoga Springs, NY — Saratoga Casino Hotel management has recently agreed to terms with the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association on a deal that guarantees harness racing at Saratoga for the next seven years. In principle, the deal will guarantee 170 annual race dates and purse funding each year, through 2025.
“Our property is rooted to the historic foundation of Saratoga harness racing,” said Alex Tucker, general manager of Saratoga Casino Hotel. “We’re proud to continue our role in supporting New York’s great equine industry and continuing the rich tradition of harness racing in Saratoga Springs.”
Prior to the addition of New York State’s debut VLT facility, purses at Saratoga Harness were $2.9 million over a 129-day race meet. Since the introduction of gaming in 2004, more than $150 million has been directly added to purses at Saratoga Harness through VLT revenues.
The Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association, which represents 850 owners, trainers, drivers and grooms directly involved at Saratoga Harness, cited the long-standing history with the track as an essential building block for this agreement.
“The seven year agreement is the result of the strong working relationship between Saratoga Casino Hotel and the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association,” said Tom McTygue, SHHA president. “This demonstrates the commitment of casino ownership and management in continuing the tradition of high-quality racing for many years to come.”
Saratoga Casino Hotel is also responsible for providing a significant impact on regional agriculture and equine businesses. Each year, the casino generates approximately $20 million towards New York’s agriculture business. This encompasses the racing purses won by owners, drivers and trainers that are then re-invested towards purchasing feed from local farms, as well as receiving veterinarian and blacksmith services.
The new agreement was lauded by local officials and the New York State Gaming Commission who cited the continuation of harness racing as an asset to both Saratoga County and New York State.
“We commend the management of Saratoga Casino Hotel and the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association for their commitment to the future of harness racing at the Saratoga Harness track,” said Robert Williams, New York State Gaming Commission Acting Executive Director. “This agreement ensures there will be quality racing and renewed opportunities to grow the sport for owners, fans, and the community for years to come.”
This marks the 78th season Saratoga Casino Hotel has been conducting harness racing on the Spa half-mile oval since opening on June 26, 1941. Saratoga Casino Hotel now employees more than 600 team members property wide.
“This agreement is great for Saratoga, great for harness racing, and great for local jobs and our local quality of life,” said New York State Senator Daphne Jordan. “The stability and assurance this long-term agreement provides will ensure that Saratoga remains a world-class destination. I am pleased the agreement is a win-win for all parties and I congratulate them on getting this important deal done.”
“I am happy to hear that Saratoga Casino Hotel has reached a long-term agreement with the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association, which will provide both parties with security to plan for the future,” said Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner. “Harness racing is an integral part of Saratoga’s economy, and this deal is critical to the sport’s security in the county.”
The 2019 racing harness racing season is underway. The full season schedule is available now on www.SaratogaCasino.com. As always, parking and admission are free for all guests.