The New York Racing Association says that Saratoga Race Course will have $1.9 million in upgrades this summer, including hundreds of new high-definition televisions, an enhanced sound system and more tables for guests in its popular backyard area.
NYRA said he investment will “enhance the customer experience” at the annual race meet.
“We want our guests to have a great experience when they come to Saratoga Race Course,” said Chris Kay, NYRA CEO and president/ “We appreciate this treasured venue and are investing in it for horse racing fans who cherish their visit to Saratoga.”
“Saratoga Race Course remains the economic driver that enables our members and our community to thrive all year round,” said Todd Garofano, president of the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau. “In addition to providing the country’s best six-week thoroughbred meet in July and August, the economic activity the track provides beyond racing season compliments our spring and fall convention seasons and carries many of our businesses through the shrinking winter shoulder period.”
Improvements, NYRA officials said, include:
• HD televisions: Approximately 750 new HD televisions, ranging in size from 19″-70″, will be installed throughout the facility. Some 500 of the new TVs will be placed in the popular backyard area and in exterior grounds near the grandstand and clubhouse. The other 250 televisions will be installed within the interior of the grandstand/clubhouse, including all dining, bar and mutuel areas. Clubhouse box seats will also be equipped with new HD televisions.
• Sound system: An enhanced sound system will allow for improved transmission of race calls, announcements, video programming and winner’s circle events.
• Picnic tables: An additional 125 picnic tables will be added in selected areas of the backyard area. Available to all guests at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis, the tables have become very popular party settings for families and friends during live racing.
• Video walls: Large new video walls will be installed in three highly-populated grandstand areas – the paddock, the outdoor mutuel bay, and near the Carousel Restaurant – for enhanced, HD video display of races and other information.
• Trakus: The high-tech system that enables television viewers to easily track their horse’s position throughout a race will be launched at Saratoga in 2014.
• Event Tent: Home to a number of events including fashion shows, international day celebrations, Taste of NY and other vendors, the tent will be expanded to 40 feet by 70 feet and feature improved flooring and electricity.
• Child-friendly entertainment: In addition to the many family fun activities, the popular playground area will be expanded so that kids have more room to play on the various pieces of equipment. Separately, the backyard will have a dedicated area where children can visit with and touch one of Saratoga’s outrider horses and learn about a horse’s daily routines and activities.
• Wi-Fi: After monitoring areas of high density Wi-Fi usage on-track last year, capacity in high volume areas will be quadrupled this year in order to improve service and minimize connectivity delays.
• Restrooms: Saratoga restrooms will receive a number of upgrades, including new fixtures, mirrors, paint and more.
• Outdoor dining: The popular Saratoga Porch dining area, open for breakfast and lunch, will be expanded to provide more tables offering a close-up view of the races.
These will be the first of what NYRA hopes will be continued upgrades at the racetrack over the next several years, officials said.
Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen said the city “will do everything we can as a city to ensure the success of and increase attendance to Saratoga Race Course. The city of Saratoga Springs, with Saratoga Race Course at its heart, will remain a fun and affordable destination for horse racing fans, summer vacationers and families alike.”