SBD/July 17, 2014/Facilities

NYRA Spends Nearly $2M To Improve Technology, Seating At Saratoga Race Course

NYRA President & CEO Chris Kay yesterday "outlined changes to the organization and Saratoga Race Course," but not everyone is "thrilled with some of his moves," according to a front-page piece by Dennis Yusko of the Albany TIMES UNION. Kay "introduced a new team of executives he said would enhance guest experiences, improve horse racing and make NYRA profitable as it reorganizes itself." Kay said that NYRA invested nearly $2M "into the track’s grounds during the off-season." That includes installing 750 new HD TVs, an "enhanced sound system and new Wi-Fi spots." Kay said that after "ending several consecutive years in the red" and posting a $13.1M deficit in '13, NYRA is "on-track to have a budget surplus" in '14. In addition to "debuting three high-definition video boards and a children’s play area at Saratoga this year, NYRA has instituted more expensive admission, seating and parking fees and changed its policy for its popular giveaway days." The price for daily general admission "increased to $5 from $3, while daily clubhouse admission went to $8 from $5." NYRA as of yesterday had "sold 4,631 discounted season passes." But one alteration to the track this year already has "generated complaints from fans," as NYRA "removed dozens of wood benches from the clubhouse porch along the apron and replaced them with dining tables that can be reserved for breakfast and lunch" (TIMESUNION.com, 7/16).

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY: DAILY RACING FORM's David Grening noted NYRA hopes to "emphasize quality over quantity at the 40-day Saratoga meet" that begins tomorrow, with plans to "run approximately 15 to 20 fewer races than the 420 conducted" in '13. NYRA Senior VP/Racing Operations Martin Panza said that he wants to "write fewer cheaper races if possible." While there will be "less flat racing, there will be more steeplechase racing at this year’s meet -- 12 races compared to nine in previous years" (DRF.com, 7/16).
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NYRA, Horse Racing, Facilities

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