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March 02, 2010


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frank derossi

you obviously have no idea what goes on at the track, this is an idea that should have been implemented decades ago. the captains and maitre d's have been nothing more than extortionists some making as much as $35,000-50,000 for six weeks how is that for tradition and regalia i quess its great if you enjoy getting ripped off for sub standard food and service


First of all I do know what goes on there and unfortunately have had to deal with some of what you talk about - but do we throw the baby out with the bath water? Do we simply cut the service down to a minimal level (and therefore the jobs) because it's a who you know/what you pay situation. I realize sometimes reality dictates that, yes, we have to take those drastic measures but... Are we that jaded and dejected in New York State that we can't fix a problem and instead have to throw out the whole system? As an example, we need to remove the present Governor and his people, not do away with the actual office. If we are dealing with unlawful acts then we must address the specific problem and not get rid of the whole system.

I see your point but disagree with the solution. Thanks for reading and commenting.

ruth wallens

I completely agree. Lets fix the system if we must, but not eliminate the service. At the risk of sounding elitist, I vote for more and better service. Part of what sets saratoga apart from other racetracks is its history, charm, and yes, the old-fashion, sometimes rediculus pomp and circumstance. But there are many choices to sit outside and in the grandstand, picnic or just wander. The clubhouse experience is unique for a reason. For one thing, it makes the day more about the experience of attending, rather than just a day of betting. Saratoga needs stronger branding, not moves to weaken it. If we want to attract (continue to attract) the thoroughbred racing "community" - you know the one that keeps our restaurants and hospitality establishments afloat, and supports our cultural events and charitable associations - then we have to have the services they want and expect. Think of it this way, nobody forces someone to go to a fine dining restaurant when they're more comfortable at Olive Garden. But without offering the choice, you can't attract the crowd that would prefer an independent, creative eating establishment - and stay in a nice B&B or high-end hotel while visiting.

Bottom line - tipping is part of our culture. Lets clean it up if we need to, but not eliminate the model. How about looking at the big picture to find better places to cut expenses. Or better yet, figure out how to bring in more revenue. What a novel idea!


@Frank, For some reason I dont think eliminating these positions will cut down the "extortion". I imagine these practices will just change hands. If NYRA gets its way and runs these services the way it runs the rest of their operations I can only imagine the headlines that will come from their incompetency.


Ruth and Paul - very well stated and I agree.

frank derossi

paul, point well taken

tom williams

Saratoga is all about tradition.....the history of the track season and all it means to the community are well known. Eliminating some of the dining room staff will not make it a better experience, if anything it will ruin it. The system could use some improvements though, primarily in the quality of the food and and more reasonable prices. The club house is not fine dining, despite the menu prices to the contrary. Folks who come there expect to pay a premium, but don't like to get ripped off or treated like fools. The Centerplate management has been raising prices every year as the quality of the food goes down...The staff they are proposing to throw out are well aware of these issues and have made many attempts to let the big shots know....but it doesn't seem to help. So, after all the captains, walking captains and maitre d's are gone we will still have overpriced food and really bad service. Hopefully, something can be done to correct the problem, not just kill the whole deal!! Perhaps NYRA should consider getting some feedback from the regular customers before making these changes....a smart businessman listens to his customers...that simple fact seems to be lost in this mess.


I'm wondering - now that the season has started - how does sevice seem? I was just surprised to hear they had changed the system and wonder how it is working. We are heading to Saratoga this weekend (July 30th).

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