Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association, Inc.





It seems that you cannot watch a television news show without a story of violence in crowds. One reaction: fear large crowds. Equally important is to wonder how such felons got access to the crowds without security noticing. Such was the issue at the Super Bowl celebration for the Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately, news stories answer those questions leaving many to assume that large crowds are inherently dangerous. Not the case.

In three weeks a first of its kind racing event will take place in the small city of Saratoga Springs with a population of under 30,000. From June 4th to 9th Saratoga Springs will be in racing mode with temporary population surge of 50-to-60 thousand racing fans and party goers. Should racing fans worry about visiting the city that week?

According to Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Public Safety Tim Coll the answer is no with caution by everyone. ThoroFan interviewed Commissioner Coll to get the details of his bold answer. Coll has spent 30 years in Law enforcement including as an FBI Special Agent in metropolitan NYC and Albany. This is not his first rodeo. So, we, with respect, asked him to explain his confidence that racing fans will have a fun and safe visit to Saratoga Springs for the Belmont Festival.

To begin he said year ago April a meeting of 15 agencies reviewed strategies and laid out a play. Each agency went about developing their separate but integrated efforts for Saratoga for the Festival. Specifically, the City’s Fire Services and Emergency management will be fully available for all emergencies. The FBI Technical support operations are

supporting the city’s operations. Federal and State Police are using Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.). Even traffic management including police, code enforcement and street lighting will be focused on a safe environment for all attending. The New York State Police, Saratoga County Sheriffs and City Police have coordinated all enforcement and safety efforts. Uniformed and non-uniformed police will be in the crowds throughout the city. Peaceful demonstrations will be allowed if permitted by the City. Intelligence on any illegal protests is being collected to curtail them before they set up. 

With the number of visitors to the City cresting over 60,000, Commissioner Coll says they are ready. He cautions racing fans to be vigilant of their surroundings. Saratoga Springs homeless population is well served but acting out behaviors by some including panhandlers seeking to collect on the large crowds with unfounded sympathy could be dangerous. The antidote to such unpredictable incidents by anyone should be to report to police on the scene so action to protect all can be taken. He noted for the free concert in Saratoga Springs on Wednesday Broadway will be shut down from Van Dam Street (City Center) to Washington Street (Starbucks).

If you are attending any days during the Belmont Festival, according to NYRA you should be confident that every effort will be made to assure fan safety and security. “As is always the case for the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, NYRA

works closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement to ensure the safety of fans, employees, and the community at large. Both NYRA and the city of Saratoga Springs are deeply experienced with hosting large events with big crowds, and we look forward to a historic edition of the Belmont Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on June 8.” It appears that collaborative efforts among all law enforcement is in place. Enjoy the Belmont Stakes from wherever you are.

 Remember, “If You See Something, Say Something.”


Be safe.