Thursday, July 03, 2008

Early indicators on Saratoga Attendance

In the media and blogs
out there, talk has begun as to the attendance at the upcoming Saratoga meet (July 23rd-Sept 1st). One columnist thinks it is a no-brainer.

He feels even at $10 bucks a gallon for gas the crowds will be there. While I am not quite as optimistic, all early indications are that the crowds will be still going to the Spa. This is by no means scientific but my evidence so far supports the theory that attendance will be good. My yearly request for reserved seating came back with the usual seat locations. Had ticket sales been slow, the seating location would be better. I thought with an early submittal for seats and the poor economy I would get a better location. With my seats in hand I called NYRA yesterday to reserve seats at the track dining facilities for days when I have guests coming up to the track with me. I was told the various track restaurants are filling up quickly with 3 of the 4 "sit down" restaurants already sold out for Travers Day. The Popular "Porch" restaurant located on the track level of the clubhouse is sold out for every Saturday of the meet-selling out quicker then they usually do according to the representative I spoke too. Tickets at the Turf Terrace Restaurant are also near sellout.

I feel overall attendance will be flat when compared with last year. Some of the mid week days will be down and I still prefer a 4 or 5 week meet like it used to be instead of the current 6 week format. I could be wrong, but I do not see the drastic turn down some people forecast. The New York City crowd will come up less, but I expect more locals to spend a day at the track to make up this shortfall. When you have a relatively good local economy in the Saratoga Region, a decent size population of locals too attend, and a short meet with history and relevance you will still draw. Things are tight with gas and food prices but it appears from the non-scientific evidence I have seen thus far, that people are budgeting elsewhere and will continue to spend money at the Spa.

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