“It is now post time”: Fred “Cappy” Capossela

There is no sound more exciting to the racetrack customer than the trenchant, nasal exclamation of “They’re off!” by Fred Capossela. With this brief expression, the New York track announcer sums up the promise of clamorous jockeys, flailing whips and eager-to-race horses springing from the starting gate. (Tuite) Capossela was NYRA’s track announcer for 37…

A Big Day at the Big A

By the time the Gotham was run last Saturday afternoon, Aqueduct might have been at its raw, freezing, wintry worst, but that didn’t seem to matter to the people who braved the elements and were rewarded with a heck of a horse race for their efforts. It was nice to see the old track—which saw…

NYRA Has Built It. Will They Come?

“The second richest day in North American racing” will come to Belmont Park on June 7. That’s what the New York Racing Association (NYRA, and an occasional freelance client of mine) announced last week, in a reconfiguration of its springs/summer stakes schedule designed to create a blockbuster race card on the day of the Belmont…

The Birth of Aqueduct’s Inner Track

As the inner track opens for the 2013 winter meet, a look back into the archives, for how this unique racing surface came to be: It was nearly 70 degrees in New York yesterday; warmer temperatures and delayed darkness have many of us thinking spring. And for New York racing fans, there is no surer…

Should Racetracks Charge Admission?

Last Wednesday, the Reorganization Board of the New York Racing Association approved a 2014 budget that included hikes in admission fees at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, from $3 to $5 for the grandstand, and from $5 to $8 for the clubhouse. The increase is designed to offset an expected $1.8 million deficit caused…

A Modest Proposal

Public outcry against the proposed and approved increased admission prices at Belmont and Saratoga has been loud and sustained since the budget for the New York Racing Association was made public this week. Having attended this week’s board meeting, this long-time English teacher is now (perhaps dangerously) armed with all kinds of new financial expertise…

NYRA Board Has First Serious Disagreement

The reorganization board of the New York Racing Association met for the first time a year ago, but it wasn’t until its eighth meeting Dec. 4 that its members offered any significant disagreement to a proposal made by board chairman David Skorton. On the agenda was NYRA’s 2014 budget, one of the most contentious elements…