A winning ticket: NYRA records second-straight profitable year at the tracks

The New York Racing Association had a banner 2015 highlighted by American Pharoah (pictured with jockey Victor Espinoza) winning racing's Triple Crown before a crowd of 90,000 at Belmont Park on June 6.
THE COURIER/Photo by Robert Pozarycki

They’re in the money — again.

The New York Racing Association (NYRA), which operates Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park and Belmont Park on the Queens/Nassau border, announced Wednesday it will finish 2015 with its second straight operational profit.

Once the curtain falls on this calendar year, the NYRA projects it will finish with an operating profit of $4 million; the figure focuses solely on NYRA’s operations at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga and does not include any revenue it receives from the Resorts World New York casino, which operates out of Aqueduct’s former grandstand.

It’s the first time the NYRA has had back-to-back operational profits since 1999 and 2000.

“This is an important milestone and a very meaningful achievement,” NYRA President and CEO Christopher Kay said. “Working together with our board and numerous stakeholders, we are fulfilling Governor [Andrew] Cuomo’s vision of a reformed, revitalized and financially sustainable thoroughbred racing leader.”

The NYRA had a banner year both on- and off-track, highlighted by American Pharoah becoming racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner in capturing the Belmont Stakes on June 6 before a crowd of 90,000 at Belmont Park. This year’s summer racing meet at upstate Saratoga Race Course also set a wagering record and an attendance increase.

The racing outfit also announced a host of improvements set to come to Aqueduct and Belmont in the coming year. At Aqueduct, the NYRA will install new signage on Rockaway Boulevard and North Conduit Avenue; improve barns and dormitories; increase security throughout the facility; and install a new track cushion and rails to improve both equine and human safety.

Similar barn and track improvements will be made at Belmont Park. There will also be upgrades to video boards in the picnic areas and the public address system and ADA upgrades within the clubhouse and grandstand, among other improvements.

Aqueduct is currently hosting thoroughbred racing through April of next year; thereafter, racing will shift back to Belmont Park.

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