Meet-End Musings on Cultural Memory

Nearly every day at Saratoga, I’d stop somewhere—in the backyard, walking down the clubhouse steps, standing on the second level and looking back out over the trees and the old saddling shed—and I’d marvel. I’d marvel at the beauty of the place, and I’d marvel that day after day, thousands of people came: to watch…

Belmont Stakes: A+ for racing, but customer service fails

California Chrome didn’t win the Triple Crown, but within hours of his failed bid to make racing history, the New York Racing Association was nonetheless declaring Belmont Stakes day a success, pointing to high attendance and record-setting handle numbers. Official attendance was 102,199, lower than the announced (and oft-questioned) attendance of 120,139 in 2004, Smarty…

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…

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…