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Antibody test required to participate in racing at Yonkers

June 07, 2020

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The SOA of NY has been advised by the Director of Racing at Yonkers Raceway that each horsemen (trainers, drivers and grooms) seeking to participate in racing at Yonkers needs to get an antibody test. This is not something the SOA of NY agrees with in any way shape or form.

The way we were told this is meant to work is that the first time a horsemen comes on the grounds he/she will need to show the test document result to the Race Office or to the Director of Racing. Importantly, the current version of the Gaming Commission protocols requires that the test result shows that the individual is positive for antibodies. Without a positive test, we are told you will not be able to access the grounds. Accordingly, every horsemen who wishes to race at Yonkers is encouraged to get tested in the event the current protocol stands as currently stated. The type of test required was not specified. One version is a pinprick that we understand is being done even at some pharmacies and other versions employ the drawing of blood.

It is our understanding that participants at other harness tracks in the State are not being required to present such a test, and we are hopeful that we can have a constructive dialogue with the Gaming Commission to remove this one protocol, particularly given the very real concern that numerous participants -- including those who sheltered in place and engaged in social distancing and thereby avoided contracting the Covid-19 virus -- would be excluded from racing at Yonkers pursuant to their license. We are hopeful that the robust protocols being implemented at other tracks (for example, Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon) which involves, among many things, the answering of relevant health questions will be considered more appropriate and better suited to the circumstances at hand, but as of now the existing protocol as relayed to us by the Director of Racing stands. It makes no sense to us since more people do not have positive antibodies.

Regardless, numerous other protocols will be implemented, including temperature checks (anyone with a temperature greater than 100.4 will not be allowed access to the paddock), the requirement of wearing masks, social distancing, sanitary procedures and the aforementioned answering of relevant health questions.

Reminder: No owners or fans are permitted on site during this initial start-up period until further notice
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