Thursday, July 31, 2008

A real cool place to go

It is many a predictable pattern of many Saratoga Visitors on Saturday to hit the Track, then have a drink or two at Siro's, Horseshoe Inn, or other similiar establishment then to downtown for eating at many of the various restaurants and more drinking on Broadway and Caroline Street.

For those in the area this Saturday, I recommend two other options-both at the same location-The Saratoga County Arts Council at 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs (at the corner of Broadway & Spring-right by Congress Park). At 5 pm is the opening for an art exhibition of the original Travers posters from the last 25 years by Greg Montgomery, the artist, and book signing for The History and Art of 25 Travers by Vic Zast and Greg Montgomery. Montgomery's posters are the signature image of the Travers. They are the longest continuing series of sporting art in the world now standing at 25 years. His posters are very colorful and original and I look forward every year to the new one coming out.

At 8:00 pm in the same building the Saratoga Film Forum will show "Lost in the Fog" a self titled documentary about this fantastic horse who was only with us for a short time before succumbing to cancer. I only saw Lost in The Fog run once live, in the Kings Bishop at Saratoga-He just shot out of the gate and kept coming. The fans were in awe watching this beautiful animal sprint.There are a few races that when I want to recall, I close my eyes and see it again crystal clear in my head-the Kings Bishop run by Lost in The Fog is one of them. Head over to Brooklyn Backstretch for a nice interview with the filmmaker John Corey. I saw "The First Saturday in May" at this building. It is a cozy little place and a great place to see films year round.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Here comes the Sun

I had touted Western Fable, a 1st time starter in the 5th race at the Spa on Wednesday, but Double Domino (out of Pletcher's barn) and Dougie finish 1st and 2nd with Western Fable placing 4th.

A strange sighting at the track today-we made it through the entire card without any rain. After week one of seeing Saratoga become a vast wasteland of gray skies, no crowds and many declaring it dead and out we actually had a day of sunny skies at the track. As evidenced by the photo on this post, some folks actually came to the track today too. The attendance was a so-so 12,128. I don't know what the 2nd Wednesday did last year, but my guess is that it was definitely higher than 12,128.

Interestingly, I found the restaurants this past weekend in Saratoga to be packed, despite the low turnout at the track, evidence that people are spending their money somewhere, just not at the track. According to the Daily Gazzette some restaurants in Saratoga Springs had their best first week ever.

I guess we will have to get a few days in a row of sunny dry weather to see if the fans ever intend to come out in a more larger fashion.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Week 2 Starts -Tip of the Day

Week 2 gets underway and in Race 5 we have a 2 year old Maiden Special Weight for 2 year old NY State Breds on the Turf for a $56,000 purse. In these types of races I like to play the stable angle. The # 5 horse is Western Fable a 2 yo colt bred and owned by Flying Zee Stables. In 2008 Flying Zee Stables have placed 1st,2nd, or 3rd 80 times out of 185 starters for a in the money % of 43%. Yours truly spoke to Carlos Martin, the trainer of Western Fable, after being introduced to him by a mutual friend and trainer who was a guest of mine this weekend. We spoke with him Saturday after the Whitney card and Carlos was very high on a couple of his horses running this meet, particularly this 2 year old colt Western Fable. The morning line on him is 6-1. # 1 horse Dougie out of Zayat Stables LLC will be the bettors 1st choice (morning line 3-1) so I think you will be getting this horse with good valve.

Sarotaga Race # 5-July 30th
Horse # 5-Western Fable

Monday, July 28, 2008

Who's Hot, Who's Not

Crazy weekend at the Spa. Recovering from 3 straight days of betting, watching, drinking and eating downtown. Too tired too blog but here is my view on who's hot and who's not for the first week at the Spa

Cribnote (2 yr. old out of Violette barn)
Munnings (2 yr old of sire Speighstown)
Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds-our group bumped into him after Macho Again took the Jim Dandy-he was real pumped up, and why not-despite the slow time it is still a Graded Stakes win at the Spa.

The weather-except for Friday, the weather hammered the track and hurt attendance
Attendance/On Track Handle-the windows seemed real light-especially on Jim Dandy Day when I barely had to wait at the windows-the clubhouse and grandstand was very quiet all day. Already more turf races moved off than all of last year. Forget about attendance equaling last year after this week of weather
Da'Tara-no way Da'Tara could sprint with Mint Lane and be there at the end

Friday, July 25, 2008

Weekend Picks-Saratoga

The big money race on this "Win and Your In" weekend is the Whitney Stakes. When I think about this race I always think about Onion upsetting Secretariat in the Whitney Stakes after Secretariat won the triple crown in '73. This photo is a head on shot of the final stretch Drive.

Twilight Racing Day Today-the weather is sunny, breezy and DRY-however the turf is still wet so everything but the Lake George is off the Turf, or so they are saying this morning. I will be at the Track all weekend so look for a wrap-up with photos on Monday as weekend blogging will be limited due too track festivities and the like.

Weekend Selections:

7/25/08-Race #3-Hamsa $2 to Win
Race #8-My Princess Jess/Zee Zee -$2 Exacta Box
7/26/08 Race #8-Bustin Stones-$20 to Win (The Alfred G Vanderbilt)
Race 10-Notional/Grasshopper/Commentator-Tri Box $2 (The Whitney)
7/27/08 Jim Dandy-Grade II--Pyro -$5 W/P/S

Total Blog selections ROI to Date: $0

Best Bet-Bustin Stones-#3 in the TBA Standings in the Sprint Division-Look for him to rise up the standings after Saturday's race. The horse is rested after missing the Met Mile. He is 6-0 and Look for a big Winners circle for Local owner Roddy Valente. Valente is a owner of RJ Valente Gravel Inc. about 20 miles from the track. He got into this game in 1992 and this would be his first stakes winner.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thoughts and Photos from Opening Day 2008

Wow, that's alot of Rain!! I have been at Saratoga many times before during a drenching shower or thunderstorm but this was the longest sustained rainfall I can remember at the Track while I was there. Constant Companion MBA and I arrived in perfect time for post time and my $2 bet on Star Player paid off a tidy $10.20 which became my seed money for the rest of the day resulting in an overall 10 race net payoff of $11.80. Kudos to all of the die-hards, 18,127 strong, who showed up and braved the rain. Of course upon leaving after the 10th race, It was an absolute monsoon, so after staying dry in the Grandstand in Section O, we got drenched anyway walking to our car. We ditched a visit to Siro's and went straight to an excellent dinner at Maestro's in downtown Saratoga. Missed the fellow TBA bloggers who made it to Siro's but think I saw one over in Section M. Here are some photos from the day:

Winning $16.60 Exacta Ticket in the 2nd-Cognito/Brave Victory; When you only bet $2 at a time, this ticket is like gold.

Wright Street Entrance-12:30 pm -light drizzle at this point.

Lookin at Her at 1/8th pole in nice stretch duel with Fiddlers Afleet in the 5th Race

The Canoe featuring Winning Travers Stakes Colors (Street Sense)

Looking from our section in Section O towards Clubhouse area

Final stretch drive of the Schuylerville Stakes on very sloppy track/heavy rain

Bring on the Mudders

The forecast for Opening Day looks bleak. Expect Showers around the 1 pm post time, than the probability of steady rain by the 4th or 5th race.

Such a shame as last year was such a sunny beautiful day to be at the Spa with 30,000 plus fans. Last year as a whole featured good weather over the 36 day meet. Good weather is essential to this meet. Never mind the economy, keep an eye on the weather to better forecast the attendance for this meet. Sunny days keeps the locals coming and the spur of the moment crowd. The backyard picnic area is a huge draw, but not so fun when 2 inches of rain are forecast. Luckily for me and my Constant Companion MBA, we have seats under cover in the Grandstand and will be taking in the races from there with limited walks to the paddock and for people watching. Our camera will be with us and I will post photos from Opening Day. Rain or no Rain it is still the Spa and I would rather be nowhere else. Like Christmas when I was a kid and baseball opening day the anticipation for the Opening Day at the Spa is such a great feeling. Tommorrow I enter Heaven on Earth and stay there for 36 racing days over a 42 day time period.

Just for fun I will try to handicap this meet and post occasional picks. I figure my picks are as good as the old guy standing outside the Wright Street entrance gate to the the track who charges you for his picks. He is always there, and when you ask him how he did the day before it always the same: "7 winners on top, 4 exactas and 1 pick 3". You think it would mix it up just to keep everyone on their toes. My goal is always to leave the track with enough money to pay for my drinks later that evening. If you have more lofty goals, please consult with the more astute handicappers out there.

I will stay away from the turf races with the rain forecast. In the 9th race-the Grade III Schyulerville Stakes for 2 y.o. fillies, I like a $2 exacta box on Ocean Colors, Boom Town Sally. (#1,8 ex box) and in the 5th, $2 to win on Storm Hope.(#5, Win). Total Investment: $6.00

Monday, July 21, 2008

Opening Day Facts

With Just one day to rest up for Opening Day at Saratoga here are some figures to ponder...

Best opening day attendance at the Saratoga Race Track - 32,913 (2002)
Best opening day on Track handle-3,789,795 (2007)
Best total opening Day handle-15,533,027 (2006)

The opening day attendance this year should be strong-but not a record. Last year, under a gorgeous sunny sky with low humidity, attendance was 30,052. The photo in this post, taken by myself on opening day 2007, gives you an idea of the pristine weather that day. The weather is forecast to be more iffy this year, with higher humidity and possible rain, so lets go with 29,285. I expect on track handle (reflective of the feel good atmosphere at Saratoga) to be strong at 3,700,000 with total on and off track handle (more reflective of the less than stellar economy) dipping a bit to be about 14,500,000.

Overall I am sticking with my position that attendance overall for the meet will be very strong. Contrary to the "sky is falling crowd" who love to trumpet how terrible the economy is doing and how people are choosing gas over food-I see no starving people in the streets of Saratoga. The restaurants are packed, the Caroline street bars are elbow to elbow, the hotels from Clifton Park at Exit 9- up to Wilton at Exit 15 are booked (the track is off Exit 13 and/or exit 14), and everyone who came up last year is here now and the mood is festive. The uniqueness of this meet, the generally strong fields and the draw of the Saratoga scene seems to trump current economic conditions.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Interview-Michael Amo (Thorofan)

I recently had the opportunity to interview Michael Amo, Chairman of the Thoroughbred Racing Fans Assocation aka Thorofan . We talked about the genesis of the group, background of the founders, involvement of NYRA, and the goals of Thorofan.

They’re in the Gate (TITG): Mr. Amo-How did the idea for Thorofan come about?

M. Amo: Last fall during the NYRA franchise negotiation, we noticed that the fans were not asked for input. Fearful that our favorite pastime could be destroyed by the wrong bidder, we were very concerned. We began to explore the role the fan has played in the industry across the nation to date. Very little evidence could be found, save a focus group. We wondered why. After all we are an integral part of the sport, why shouldn't our "voice be heard?" A small group of fans from around the state began to have regular brainstorming meetings to think what might be down. The result was, "Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association, Inc or Thorofan."

TITG: Is the Group Non-Profit and do you have your 501(c)3 filing?

M. Amo: Yes in New York State. We are working on our 501(c)3 application.

TITG: Tell me a little about yourself and the vice chair Joanne Yepsen and the Secy/treas. Niki Lee Rowe? How long have you been a fan and how did you become a fan?

M. Amo: After graduate school, a few us went to the 1978 Belmont Stakes. I was hooked. I haven't missed a Belmont since then; waiting for the next TC. I have been coming to Saratoga since 1980. Along the way I have "raced" at Gulfstream, Oaklawn, Santa Anita, Hollywood, Fairmont, Pimlico, Monmouth, Suffolk, Fort Erie, Fair Grounds, Retema Park, Sam Houston, Keeneland, Churchill and Turfway. Niki Lee Rowe is the horseman. She grew up in southern California riding competitively. Exercised Thoroughbreds at Garden State, Monmouth, Bowie and Belmont. She spent years living on working breeding farms in California. Joanne Dittes Yepsen is local Saratoga fan. She is passionate about her home track and racing in New York in general.

TITG: What does Thorofan hope to accomplish on behalf of the fan?

M. Amo: We want to give the fan a voice. To do that we most first mobilize fans like ourselves. With a critical mass of Thoroughbred racing fans our voice will be heard. We want to enrich the fans experience through tangible benefits, education, interaction and advocacy. We want to use our voice to take positions on critical issue to the fans facing the sport and industry. These issues will come from the fans. What they want we want.

TITG: Can you outline some short term and long term goals of the group?

M. Amo:
Long Term Goals
1. Enhance fan enjoyment
2. Enhance fan knowledge of the sport
3. Enhance fan handicapping skill base
4. Gain cooperation with other organizations in the thoroughbred business community
5. Continually develop a substantial and growing membership
6. Continually research and develop new fan benefits
7. Continually research and develop positions on issues important to the membership and the sport
8. Procure funds through corporate memberships, fundraising, website advertising etc. to fully fund TRFA’s administrative costs so that all member dues will be used for the enhancement of our members’ enjoyment, knowledge, and participation in the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

Goals – 2008

1. Develop cooperative working relationship with NYRA
2. Develop cooperative relationships with all Thoroughbred Racing vendors III.
3. Develop special non-voting corporate memberships
4. Develop a substantial website to enhance member interest, knowledge, and enjoyment
5. Develop bus trips for members to New York racetracks
6. Have presence at signature events at all NYRA tracks
7. Develop seminars and programs for members
8. Have a membership base of 10,000 by December 31, 2008
9. Have a 2009 membership renewal rate of 90%

TITG: I noticed that NYRA is a corporate contributor. What exactly does that entail?

M. Amo: NYRA has not contributed any money to our development efforts. They have provided us with a location at the Saratoga Race Course to register new members and offer some basic education programs. We are grateful for their help. But we are totally independent of NYRA. We are about the voice of the fan, not marketing.

TITG: Can Thorofan be an independent fan driven organization, running independently of NYRA as far as what it hopes to accomplish?

M. Amo: Absolutely. We want to work with racing venues in New York and elsewhere to improve the fan experience.

TITG: Can we expect Thorofan to have a presence at Belmont and Aqueduct once Saratoga closes its meet?

M. Amo: It is our desire to work with NYRA at all their locations. We are also hoping to reach out to other tracks. We are planning a trip to Keeneland in October to begin the discussion there. We have had members join from Michigan and ask if there might be a Michigan chapter of Thorofan in the future?

TITG: Do you have any plans to open branches of the club at other areas of the country such as Kentucky, California Etc.?

M. Amo: Yes if their is a sufficient interest and fan base.

TITG: What is the cost too join and what are the benefits to members?

M. Amo: The 2008 membership is set at $25 discounted to $20 for on track registration. Members will get discounts from DRF, Thoroughbred Times and local area businesses. The membership card if used to its fullest will generate benefits many multiples of the dues. That will always be our philosophy.

TITG: What do you see as the issues that need to be addressed in this sport?

M. Amo: As fans we all can list a number of issues that need attention, drugs, takeouts, etc. Once our membership base is established we will reach out to members for input and direction. We want to be the collective voice of the fan.

Do you have plans to advocate actively on behalf of members needs such as horse welfare, promotion of the sport, use of drugs in the sport, gambling and ADW issues, etc?

M. Amo: Yes, if that is the desire of the membership!

TITG: Will non board members have a say in Thorofan advocacy issues?

M. Amo: Absolutely, our website will become more interactive and solicitive of member input. We are already trying to set up committees of the Board and are looking for members to participate. Anyone one interested should contact us at

TITG: What is your website?

M. Amo:

TITG: What has the reaction in the racing fan community been thus far.?

M. Amo: Very positive. We have all facets of the industry participating in our meetings.

TITG: Where do you see the sport of Thoroughbred Racing and Thorofan in 5 years?

M. Amo:I hope it grows and fans are drawn back to live racing. If NASCAR can do it why can't Thoroughbred racing? Unfortunately, the data suggest otherwise. I don't think the industry will be righted by "marketing schemes." Rather, I think if we get back to what racing is about, the fabulous Thoroughbred race horses, than our sport has a bright future.

Comments: Well , there you have it. Mr. Amo is an enthusiastic fellow and don’t be surprised when you see the Thorofan Table at the track this summer, if he is the person working behind the table.
We have had a number of “Fan” groups start up this summer including the very promising SAFC and HANA. This sport needs activism from the fans if things are too change for the better. If Thorofan sounds interesting to you, look for the Thorofan Table as you enter the Sarotoga Race Track near the entrance to the Grandstand or check them out at their website:

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Baby Race and Beyond

I love the 2 year old "baby" races that have popped up at Belmont, and will be run at Delmar and Saratoga. They hold much allure for me as it does for others such as teresa over at Brooklyn Backstretch

I love going up to the Spa in the summer, picking a horse in a 2 year old baby race and then following along the way-maybe a Derby or Oaks winner, maybe a Breeders Cup Juvenile racer, maybe not. I bet many races, and forget very quickly, but for some reason the names of the horses I bet in the baby races always stick with me for years later.

Today in the 3rd race at Belmont Cool the Economy , a 4 year old runs in a fillies & mares allowance for $50,000. I saw her break her maiden at Saratoga in 2006. I brought my daughter and son to the track with me and my daughter picked Cool the Economy, I placed $2 on her and won a nice payoff of $14.00 when she finished 1st.

She then raced next in the Spinaway at Saratoga, finishing 5th. She did not become a champion but is a solid horse placing in 6 races out of 10 lifetime starts. Everytime she runs, I place a small wager on her. It reminds me of that 1st Hot summer sunny day when anyone can pick a winner in a baby race and dream that they have just witnessed the beginning of something special. I remember how excited my daughter was after Cool the Economy won and I walked out of the Great Old Track that day relishing the delight we had, all for a $3 general admission ticket.

So yes, today $2.00 too Win on Cool the Econony in the 3rd at Belmont

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summertime Attendance

Among my wish list for racing is for shorter meets, with better fields and more relevance to the racing days and dare I say a racing season. Belmont, Aqueduct and many others are just way, way too long. Yesterday, in the waning days of Belmont's Spring meet, just over 4,350 managed to pass through the gates at Belmont. Meanwhile, at Delmar, on Opening Day, 43,459, a record crowd came out. Next Wednesday at Saratoga for Opening Day will also see a strong turnout. Despite high food and gas prices if you give people a good product they will come out.

Why dilute the product with long drawn out meets with weak fields? The State racing associations love it but the fan (remember him) does not.

At Belmont today there is a race of interest to me. In the 4th race, a 2 year old maiden race, Prince Charming at morning line odds of 6-1 will be running. He is by 2002 Breeders Cup Juvenile Winner Vindication, who died last week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saratoga Open House-July 20th

It's not too early to think about what to do this weekend. If you are in the Saratoga Area and want to check out the Track, I suggest the Saratoga Open House at the track. Opening Day is July 23, 2008, but on Sunday, July 20th you can come to the track between 11am-4 pm and check it out. There is no actual pari-mutuel betting going on but The National Steeplechase Association will presenting a total of five races - four jump races and a training flat race, all featuring Thoroughbreds prepping for one of the seven Steeplechases during the Saratoga meet.

Best of all the event is Free. Free is always good. It is a good day to just walk around, check out the track in a non rushed atmosphere, walk around the backyard, check out the grandstand and just look around the grand old track. There are also Handicapping Seminars going on at various times throughout the day. I have attended these seminars in the past and they are helpful-especially if you are someone who is not an expert. There will be food vendors and the like there, and all proceeds go to an assortment of charities and non-profit groups. I like to stop in every year at the Open House for an hour or 2, as it charges me up for Opening Day. For more information click here

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Ramblings

What I love about this sport is the discussions it generates. Like Baseball it is a sport of numbers, predictions, situations etc. After Curlin's second place finish in the Man 'O War at Belmont yesterday (before a small but Curlin adoring crowd of 8,420)we all can now speculate and discuss where Curlin goes from here. I thought his second place finish for his first time on grass was decent. I would hope they would "stay the course" and continue on turf. I think Curlin is one of these horses that constantly adjusts and will improve on his second time over the same surface.

For now, Curlin ships to Saratoga, not to run in the six week meet, but to train on the Oklahoma Training Track. At this point I have the feeling that they will bring him back to the dirt and point him to the BC Classic.

At Belmont today, in the 6th race, I have a feeling Sightseeing, can take this race. He is overdue for a win and has been in races with much better horses.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thoroughbred Racing Fans Association

The “Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association” (TRFA) is now officially off and running. This new, non-profit membership organization is designed to give racing fans a ‘true voice” in the sport. Its mission is to foster growth of Thoroughbred racing by giving fans an organization to actively support their interests. The official website is

“Our goal is to enhance fan enjoyment of Thoroughbred racing. In the process, we hope that fans, whether regular participants or new-comers, will more fully experience the excitement of racing,” said Michael Amo, Chair of the association’s board of directors.

I recently had the opportunity to meet Mr. Amo and other founding members and they are one dynamic group. They believe that without the fan and horseplayer, racing does not exist. Like many of us they looked around at the recent troubling issues in thoroughbred racing and saw that no one was asking the fan what they thought. They have assembled an assortment of fans and horseman alike including advisory board member, Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable LLC.

The buzz words they spoke about too me were “advocate, educate and excite”.
They will be very visible at Saratoga Race Course this summer with a regular table in the grandstand area. Fans can join the TRFA at the Track this summer or on-line at the TRFA website.

It has been a busy week as fellow bloggers Dana of Green but Game and Jessica of Railbird Media launched the Self Appointed Fan Committee with a simple agenda of making sure the fans voice is heard.

I believe the tide is turning as the fans out there are finding their voice and are not afraid to use it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Promotion of the Product

Received this e-mail from NYRA today. Looks like they are finally learning that you must promote the product-Great horses running on your track.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

ESPNEWS to televise Man 'O War Stakes

I believe we must promote horse racing as a sport first, with focus on the "product", that being our great, beautiful race horses. If we promote the great horses, give people standings (see right side column for TBA standings) to understand and make going to the Track and betting easier, we can succeed. Well one step forward as ESPNEWS, found on most cable systems, will televise the Man 'O War Stakes featuring Curlin on the Turf.

If you cannot get to Belmont, you will at least be able to see the race live.

National Museum of Racing to Show The First Saturday in May

The excellent documentary titled "The First Saturday in May" will be shown all summer long at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs NY. For those planning a trip up to the Track this summer take a walk across the street to see this film. You can find my prior movie review here. For the full schedule along with information on the Museum itself click here

Monday, July 07, 2008

Denis of Cork done for the year

Denis of Cork, the Belmont Stakes runner up will miss the remainder of the year with a hairline fracture. His Trainer David Carrol was pointing him to the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes on opening weekend of the Saratoga meet and then the Grade 1 Travers. His owners did state they look forward to his 4 year old campaign. Lets hope we see him run in '09. So looking ahead, who is left to run in the Travers? Well, Nick Zito said he will run Belmont Stakes winner Da Tara (3rd in 3 yo colt standings) as well as Anak Nakal. Dwyer Stakes winner, Mint Lane, might also run.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

This is why I love Race Call announcer Tom Durkin

One of the joys of going to Belmont or Saratoga is listening to The race call by Tom Durkin-he is just amazing, always calling the horses in the right order, putting the right amount of excitement into the call and when needed, injecting humor. This call from yesterday's card at Belmont says it all.

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.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Thoroughbred Racing Fans Association

There is a new non-profit racing fans association group formed which for now seems like it will start out focusing on the Saratoga Race Course. Not much is known right now but I did ferret out the official mission statement from the meeting minutes of a recent Saratoga County public meeting:

The Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association (TRFA) is a non-profit membership based corporation designed to foster growth of the Thoroughbred racing industry by providing racing fans with an organization that will actively support their interests. Our goal is to enchance fan enjoyment and knowledge of Thoroughbred racing and skills in handicapping. TRFA, in cooperation with other organizations in the Thorougbred business community seeks to retain existing racing fans and develop new ones for the industry by creating membership rewards.

Thus far no website yet, and the only local press I found was here Appears the Mike Kane of the National Museum of Racing (also located in Saratoga) is affiliated with the group. This is a good thing as he is a knowledgeable racing fan and big racing historian.

I will be interested to see who else is affiliated with the group and how involved they plan to be. Hey at least this a group for "fans" unlike the recent government hearings which made no mention of the fans. Stay tuned for more information as it develops.