Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hey NYRA-Got my Tickets?

We are now one week from opening day of the Saratoga 2009 meet. I now excitedly prepare for the season, meticulously organizing and planning. However one thing is out of my control, obtaining my reserved seats from NYRA (New York Racing Association).

NYRA continues to have a maddeningly frustrating antiquated reserved seating process. There is no internet on-line option to buy tickets from NYRA. I can easily (at a steep price of course) obtain NY Mets or Yankees tickets on line at the team websites. Heck last week in a matter of minutes I was able to buy tickets to the local minor league Class A team (Tri-City Valley Cats) playing in Troy NY on the Teams website and was able to print them on-line at no additional charge. Telephone sales-nope-NYRA does not believe in using that form of technology either.

Instead in January of '09 I had to fill out by hand a ticket application and mail it in with a check payable to NYRA for the full amount of desired seating. Then NYRA will deposits my check in a NYRA account with the clear warning written on the application of:
"Depositing your check does not guarantee seating. NYRA will not mail any ticket until at least twenty days after your check was deposited to permit your check to clear. If you do not receive seating NYRA will return your funds"

My check was cleared on 01/19/09. It is now 180 days and still no tickets. A honest mishap you think? No, this is regular procedure for NYRA. Tickets are not mailed out till mid- June with a slow roll out of tickets to all customers. Customers who order tickets for every day of the meet get mailed out first with those suckers who only ordered for select dates forced to sweat it out and wait by the mailbox. Should you have the courage to call the NYRA ticket office, brace yourself for the rudeness you will receive for having the audacity to inquire about your tickets.

Last year my tickets were received 2 days before the meet. I was also owed a refund, which I did not receive until August last year. I was not given any escrow interest on my refund, apparently NYRA gets to keep that.

Oh, and should you be looking for Day of Sale tickets, NYRA ends a long tradition- reserved seats will no longer be available this year at the Holiday Inn on Broadway in Saratoga. You can buy them at the box office on the track-CASH only of course.


dana said...

Wow! Fortunately we got our tix around the time of the Belmont and I think we purchased them about the same time as you. But we got ours at roughly the same time last year as well so perhaps their ancient method includes mailing tickets based on proximity to the track? You being very close get your tickets last? That doesn't seem right.

But I agree that NYRA ticket purchasing really, REALLY needs to move online. It's great that the BC finally made the plunge, perhaps others will follow.

See you there!!

malcer said...

Well, racing is a little slow with those new technologies.

I'm sure if you just wait a few more years, phone orders might be available ;-).

RhondaL said...

This is my first year to attend Saratoga and was my first experience with the maddening ticket purchasing process. Good grief!

I tried to order in advance for the weekend that we're going, but nothing on the website said that advance ordering closed in June. The text on the site implies that ordering could continue up until the start of the meet. Wrong-O!

ljk said...

What annoys me is that some folks get to renew their "season tickets" while the rest of us are relegated to the "lottery".

Didn't know about the Holiday Inn. I've unloaded a lot of tickets I couldn't use to people in line at the HI.

Anonymous said...

Actually, credit cards can be used to purchase tickets at the box office (just make sure you're on the credit card line). You can also buy tickets for future dates in person.

Of course, the whole process is a big headache but the reserved seats staff does the best it can with the system it's forced to use.

SaratogaSpa said...

Thanks all for commenting. Suffice to say the reserved seating plan needs to embrace new technology and be more customer service friendly

Anon-If NYRA accepts credit cards at the Saratoga Box office-they better change the website which states :

"Unsold seat tickets and "Sun Seat" tickets for the current day go on sale each raceday at 8 a.m. at the Reserved Seat Booth located at Gate A (Union Avenue). (Tickets are available at 7 a.m. on Travers Day, Saturday, Aug. 29.) Limit four per person. Cash only. Ticket price does not include admission."