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CEO of Batavia Downs on horse racing reopening: ‘It’s the start of good things to come’

Coronavirus

BATAVIA, N.Y. (WROC) — Governor Cuomo announced horse racing tracks can reopen starting June 1. He said no fans will be allowed to attend races for now.

The CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming, Henry Wojtaszek, said they usually don’t start racing until July anyway, but the June opening of other tracks will also help Batavia.

“We are excited to have live racing, we believe its the start of good things to come,” said Wojtaszek.

He said even though they race later at Batavia, they show other racetracks around the state, country, and world.

“It’s good tracks are going to open here- Belmont, Saratoga, some of the best tracks in the entire country, and that’ll be good for people who frequent our establishments to have some content, some races to wager on.”

Betting on these other races will still continue online. He said Batavia Downs has nearly no money coming in and these other races starting up will help.

“For us there is Batavia Bets, which is our internet wagering platform. So our fans who are used to coming here hopefully will at least utilize our internet platforms. They’ll be able to live stream the races they’re watching around the state and country.”

Wojtaszek said they still have to get their live race dates approved. If they are, he said things should run as they usually do.

“Down on the track in the barn area we do anticipate it running as usual with the caveat of having to take temperatures and keeping a safe distance for now.”

A spokesperson for Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack said they will be opening for training on June 1. They’ll also be applying to the New York Gaming Commission for live race dates which they hope to start on July 13.

The state will be issuing guidelines to tracks next week on how they can reopen safely. Governor Cuomo also announced Watkins Glen International Raceway will be allowed to reopen, also without fans for now.

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