SBD/March 24, 2011/Facilities

Facility Notes

In Cleveland, D'Arcy Egan reports Thistledown "won't be racing under the lights this season," but track GM Lee Dillard said that he "would like to have later post times on Saturdays in May and June to attract new customers." Later post times "might take advantage" of rival track Northfield Park's "new schedule of switching from live Saturday evening races in May and June to simulcast racing that would include the popular Triple Crown thoroughbred races." Thistledown is allowed lived racing until 7:00pm ET, "although its live programs have ended much earlier in the past" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/24).

DOWN AT THE DOWNS: In Boston, Matt Murphy reports Suffolk Downs is "looking to reduce its live racing days by 20 percent, a change track officials say will boost purses and make the facility a more attractive venue for horsemen and patrons." The East Boston track has "reached a tentative agreement with its horsemen to reduce live racing days to 80 from 100," yet "another sign of the financial difficulties facing the downsized racetrack industry in Massachusetts." The track would "need permission from the state Legislature to make the change" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/24).

RESTORING THE PINES: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Michael Buteau notes Pinehurst Resort's No. 2 golf course re-opened earlier this month after CEO Bob Dedman Jr. "hired Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore to restore the 104-year-old layout" to its original design at a cost of $2.5M. Visits from golfers fell 13% in the four-year period after Pinehurst No. 2 hosted the '05 U.S. Open, and the resort wanted to "reverse the decline." The renovation required Pinehurst "to shut down No. 2 for four months." The USGA was "consulted at every stage, because the course is scheduled to stage the U.S. Open championships for men and women a week apart" in '14. USGA Exec Dir Mike Davis said, "Now I think you’ve got the wow factor. Aesthetically, it’s a huge change" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/24).
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