Monday, June 24, 2013

Grading the 2013 Saratoga Giveaway Items

That wonderful time of the year is upon us, when NYRA holds their annual media event announcing the Promotional Giveaway items. You have 4 of them this year: a T-shirt on  7/28; a Fourstardave bobble head on 8/11; a track model on 8/18; and a beer stein on 9/1. Here (courtesy of NYRA) are photos of the items:

 Bobblehead, Beer Stein and T-Shirt

Here is my first look Grades for the items (A-F basis):


After a year hiatus the Short Sleeve White-T Shirt with Red Lettering is back. Folks missed this item which will feature the classic red Saratoga lettering with the 150 year emblem on the front.

T-Shirt Grade: B plus

Fourstardave Bobblehead:

The Bobblehead giveaway returns, after being removed several years ago. This one is of the popular "Sultan of Saratoga" horse that won at least one race at the Spa from 1987-1994. Although often made fun of, Bobblehead items are always sought after by collectors and look for a large turnout for this one.

Fourstardave Bobblehead Grade: A Minus

Beer Stein: 

Another popular item from years back brought back replacing last years Pilsner glass giveaway (it was actually a Pint glass). Like the Bobblehead item, Spinners will clog up the backyard for this one.

Beer Stein Grade: B

Saratoga Race Course Replica Model:

Look for this giveaway to be a "One and Done" item never to be seen again after 2013. This monstrosity looks particularly tacky and cheap, reminding me of a McDonald's Happy Meal plastic piece of crap Toy that you find years later when you clean out the back of your car. This one heads straight to the $1 table at your local Tag Sale this fall.

Race Course Replica Grade: D

Monday, June 10, 2013

Belmont '13 Observations

Spent the day at Belmont with 2 hard core fans and 2 folks who had never before attended a live flat track. Some Random Post Belmont observations:

Seems like NYRA handled the new security protocols well. We drove and upon getting off our NYRA bus shuttle on the grandstand end took only about 10 minutes to get checked and into the building. Maybe others experienced some delay, but my group had no problems.

I had Palice Malice with a small $5 win bet but made the mistake of leaving him off my trifectas. The game seems pretty simple if you just bet on the "Blinkers Off" angle. That and throw in that Curlin as the sire was late maturing and got better as his 3 year old campaign so wouldn't his son do the same angle and there ya go-easy bet right?

The newbie's with us liked the day at the track and both of them had the usual observations often said by first time visitors to a track:

Wow, I'm amazed at the amount of different type of people who come out here-plenty of young, old, singles, and couples.

The time between races was way too long. Why is that long between races?

Why can't we hear the race caller over the PA System?

Why did we have to pay once for admission and than again for the race program? Shouldn't the program be free with the paid admission?

All in all the newbie's had fun, and I suspect they will be back, but I wonder how over the top the race experience would be for them if customer service issues like free programs and a working PA system were looked at.