The New York Racing Association, Inc.
The New York Racing Association, Inc. is a not-for-profit racing association that operates the three largest racetracks in New York: Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga. Charles Hayward became President and Chief Executive Office on Nov. 4, 2004. C. Steven Duncker is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
In September of 1955, the State Racing Commission authorized the Greater New York Association, which later changed its name to the New York Racing Association, to acquire the assets of the four racing associations operating Belmont, Jamaica, Saratoga and Aqueduct racetracks. The old associations’ properties were purchased for $20 million, and a period of significant change for New York Thoroughbred racing began.
Within four years, the NYRA had demolished the old Aqueduct; the new modern Aqueduct racing plant opened on Sept. 14, 1959. The Jamaica Racetrack was closed down the same year and its property sold for use as a housing development. During the same period, substantial improvements costing more than $7 million were made at Belmont Park while at Saratoga, the racetrack and its drainage system were completely rebuilt, two new barns were constructed and 19 new bunkhouses and three kitchens were added.
NYRA has upgraded all its facilities considerably over the years, most recently Belmont Park, in which NYRA is investing approximately $1 million to customer areas in 2008, with plans for major capital improvements at all three tracks over the next five years.
Thoroughbred racing alone contributes more than $2 billion annually to New York State’s urban, suburban and rural economy. It employs more than 40,000 people across the state and supports a large variety of small businesses. In New York State, there are more than 400 breeding farms with New York-bred horses accounting for four percent of the annual North American foal crop. Since its inception in 1955, the New York Racing Association has paid more than $3 billion in direct revenue to the state of New York.