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Saratoga Race Course to welcome fans

ALBANY (AP) — New York will push back its curfew for bars and restaurants an hour to midnight, starting Monday, as the state continues to relax coronavirus-related restrictions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The governor also announced during a telephone briefing Wednesday that auto and horse racing events will be able to accommodate spectators at 20 percent capacity starting April 22. Spectators will be required to wear a mask, social distance and provide proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccinations.

“But at the same time, we caution New Yorkers: Don’t get cocky. The disease is still very much with us,” Cuomo said.

The New York Racing Association said it was gearing up to host fans at its thoroughbred tracks at Belmont Park this spring and Saratoga Race Course this summer.

Statewide hospitalizations for the virus have fallen dramatically from a post-holiday peak of more than 9,000 people in January but remain above 4,000. About a quarter of New York residents have been fully vaccinated, according to state data.

Weddings and other catered events will be allowed to run until 1 a.m. instead of midnight as of Monday, the Democratic governor said.

Restaurants had pleaded for an end to the 11 p.m. curfew, saying that pandemic restrictions were hurting their business.

A similar curfew was lifted earlier this month for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiard halls and fitness centers.

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced that Saratoga Race Course opened for spring training today. The barn area at the Oklahoma

To accommodate the completion of a major renovation of the Oklahoma Training Track facility, training will begin on the main track at Saratoga Race Course.

When training resumes at the Oklahoma in early May, horses and riders will be met with a completely reconstructed track featuring a limestone base, renovated surface layer and modernized drainage systems. In addition, the training track has been widened by 10-14 feet in most areas to address the increasing population of horses training over the Oklahoma annually from April-October.

Additionally, to enhance safety for exercise riders and jockeys, the inner rail at the Oklahoma has been replaced with a rider protection system designed by Horsemen’s Track and Equipment.

The 40-day summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course, which will feature 76 stakes worth $21.5 million in total purses, will open on July 15, and conclude on Sept. 6.

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