Belmont Park’s Opening Can Begin June 1

Belmont Park’s spring/summer meet can officially begin on June 1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at his daily news conference on Saturday.

“There’ll be guidelines for the actual participants — no crowds, no fans,” he said. “For the industry itself, for the televised viewers, that could still work.”

New York Racing Association and local officials said they were pleased with the announcement. Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Beach who urged the state to reopen the Park, said the decision was “welcomed news,” and NYRA President David O’Rourke called it a “reasoned and responsible decision … that will enable horse racing to resume in a way that prioritizes health and safety.”

Last month, NYRA officials announced that they had plans in place to “prioritize the health and safety of employees, horsemen and the backstretch community.”

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Rich Nilsen is an 18-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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