Monday, July 30, 2012

The Rule of 3

I've always been puzzled by the Giveaway Days at Saratoga. The Giveaway Days are the most attended Days of the meet, but not really. The problem is the track is reporting "spinners", those that pay multiple admissions to get multiple tickets for extra giveaways.

It's amazing to watch many of these people, walk in, pay multiple admissions, get in line for the giveaways and walk out of the track by 1:00 pm even before the first race goes off.

How many actual people were there? Or more importantly what is the effect on handle.

I use the Rule of 3. Expect no more than a third of the spinner reported attendance to actually place a bet on a giveaway day.

The reported Giveaway attendance yesterday was 50,727 with an on track handle of $3,071,438. That amounts to per person wager amount of only $60.54.

Compare this to the prior Sunday, where there was no giveaway item. The attendance was a modest 18,425 however the handle was $3,021,079. This is only $50,000 less than the giveaway Sunday handle yet there was  32,302 less bodies at the track that day. The  per person wager amount was a healthy $167.83.

Using the Rule of 3 for Giveaway Days the formula works out like this

Attendance (50,727) divided by 3 = 16,909 people who actually attend the track on a giveaway day AND actually place a bet.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Saratoga 2012....Looking forward to...

Looking forward to:

1.Opening Day, just before Race # 1: Having the crowd join race caller Tom Durkin with his classic "and They're off" call. Never gets old.

2.Betting that first race at the windows: Even though I have a Smartphone and can bet through my phone via NYRA rewards, or try the new Wi-Fi betting platform at the track, there is something to be said for betting at the windows and holding that piece of paper in your hand.

3.People watching: See # 1 -never gets old

4. Eating: Gambling is not enough for me. Yours truly likes to eat while at the track. A Hattie's Chicken Sandwich (yes I will walk the extra distance to the new spot in the Carousel area) and a Shake Shack Burger are a must.

5. Drinking: Yours truly also likes to drink (responsibly). The Bar at the Post (aka the Paddock bar) serves this purpose nicely, complete with betting machines right on the bar. Also looking forward to checking out the new Beer Garden in front of the Carousel.

6. Post Race Saratoga Dining: Big fan of Maestro's, Wishing Well, One Caroline St. Bistro and Hattie's. Looking forward to trying out new spots including Boca Bistro (on Broadway).

7. Free Parking spots downtown: I have the perfect spot, free and so close to Broadway it's almost comical how many people don't know you can park there. Went to dinner last Saturday night, the town was packed but cruised into my trusty spot with no problems while many drove around in circles looking for a spot.  

8. Seeing Friends: It's amazing how many people now bet from home year round via the computer, tablet or Smartphone. Many of us have horse racing friends through Twitter or other social media who we never actually meet or see. But this is one track they do come out for, and Saratoga is often the only time I see these people and it's a treat to socialize with them.

Friday, July 06, 2012

The End of Hattie's at Saratoga Race Course?

Can it be, Say no for this would be Blasphemy.

Foodie writer Steve Barnes of the Times Union (Albany, NY) reports that the Hattie's Trackside location has been moved this year to the Carousel Area. Barnes describes the new area as an "out-of- the -way former crepe spot". Must of been out of the way-I never saw it. Crepe Spot? Who eats crepes at a race track anyway?

Barnes further reports that Hattie's owner Beth Alexander thinks the location is "horrible".

The Hattie's former location at the track was located in a very convenient spot in the backyard just outside the escalators leading to the 2nd floor of the clubhouse. As I wrote on this blog in 2010
"I find a Hattie’s fried chicken sandwich eaten around the 6th race or so has just the perfect mix of ingredients to give me the proper nourishment to continue on for the remainder of the card."

Now what to do should Hattie's go forward on their threat to stay away due to the expense involved in making the new space work? Sure, there is still the Paddock Bar and Shake Shack, but there is no duplicate to the splendid, messy, calorie filled, almost orgasmic inducing Hattie's fried chicken sandwich. Nothing available at the track comes close, nothing, nada, zilch.

Is this what we can expect from the Governor Cuomo (aka Emperor Cuomo) controlled "new NYRA". Give me the old NYRA than. Ousted CEO Charlie knew a good meal when he saw one and surely would have never moved Hattie's.

The Government can't run the DMV, we expect them to know good food?