New Health Clinic Opens for Saratoga Backstretch Workers

Edited news release

The New York Racing Association, in cooperation with the Backstretch Employees Services Team, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Schenectady Family Health Services, has opened a backstretch clinic to help address the health needs of backstretch workers at Saratoga Race Course.

Empire Health Care's Jack Knowlton, whose Sackatoga Stable campaigns 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr.I) and Preakness (gr.I) winner and 2004 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Funny Cide, helped bring the parties together to establish the clinic.

"The realization of this clinic proves how much good can happen when all stakeholders of the industry pull together for a common goal," said Charles E. Hayward, NYRA President and CEO. "I would like to personally thank Jack Knowlton for his tireless efforts to help us improve the quality of life among our backstretch workers."

A similar clinic has operated at Belmont Park for many years; however, this initiative marks the first time the needs of approximately 700 backstretch workers at Saratoga have been specifically addressed. The Saratoga clinic will also be overseen by Schenectady Family Health Services, a federally qualified health care center.

"Years ago, when Saratoga ran for a short season, backstretch workers could simply go to First Aid," said Robert F. Flynn, executive director of the NYTHA and a NYRA Trustee. "But Saratoga has expanded not only in its racing season, but in training in the spring and fall. There are more horses up there and more people taking care of them over a longer period of time. A backstretch clinic for Saratoga just makes sense."

The clinic is located near the Recreation Hall on Union Avenue, and will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the 36-day Saratoga Race Course season, which opens July 27 and runs through Labor Day, Sept.5.

The clinic will be open 11 p.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for Saratoga's spring training season that runs from May through July, and in the fall through October.