I talked to some people in the know this weekend and found out that the Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga Race Course will open for the season on Tuesday April 15, 2014. That is good news and yet another sign that summer and track season are not too far off.
In a very well timed soft opening on the year's first warm weekend, the Ice Cream Man on South Broadway opened today! It's open until 9pm seven nights a week. Look for a more official grand opening sometime around the beginning of May.
I have no problem with the Travers Day price increases; in fact they should have happened years ago. But the weekday, and to a lesser extent weekend, price increases demonstrates an out-of-touch NYRA that is insulting and bleeding the very fan base that keeps it going.
You could shoot a cannon ball from section M to section Y of the grandstand seats any given weekday and not hit anybody. So NYRA decides it makes sense to chase away the few dozen fans left? The weekends also have large gaps in most seats in both the clubhouse and grandstand, and the further you get near section Y, the more likely it is that the entire section's seats will be emtpy. NYRA doesn't get it: They should have lowered the prices, at least on weekdays. They might have made up the admission total in volume, increased handle, and retained fans rather than drove them away.
How about free seating on Wednesdays for senior citizens? That's the fan category that arguably most would appreciate a seat, and incidentally comprises a large percentage of the gambling community. Many of us wanted a new NYRA, myself included. The old NYRA was annoying to say the least, but this new NYRA seems intent to drive a dagger into the heart of the the fan base, and by extension our beloved Saratoga race course. All in the name of the dubious goal of weaning itself from VLT money. I'm nostalgic for the devil I knew. The old NYRA wasn't so bad after all.