Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Changes at the Spa

As you may have read there appears to be a general displeasure with the changes ongoing at the Spa as undertaken by the New York Racing Association (NYRA).

Everybody has there take so here is one man's opinion (mine) on a couple of changes:

1. As a 11 year season seat subscriber who buys 4 reserved seats each year, I did get the feeling this year that NYRA does not value my business. Each year prior to this NYRA would slowly move my seats closer to the Finish line, usually a section closer each year.  Last year I had my seats in the Clubhouse Section C.

Now this year I was kicked back all the way to Section J, a full 7 sections away from the finish line. When I called NYRA and explained that as a long time customer I was displeased as to how far I got moved back, they did not make any offer to move me or otherwise accommodate me.

They said if perhaps I was a NYRA Rewards member that might make a difference. When I explained that I WAS a NYRA Rewards member (since Day 1) they then told me I was not a "High Roller" (which I agree as I am only a small time bettor). They explained that only the High Roller Rewards members who are also ticket holders could be moved to better sections.  So let me get this straight, your experience as a guest will be enhanced, but only if you are are a high end bettor?

I am also not a fan of the bundled admission with the reserved seats, which really ends up as a hidden tax as you get no refund on the Admission fee if the ticket is not actually used that day. So if you go 30 out of the 40 days, NYRA still collects the admission fee off you for the other 10 days.

2. Changes to the Paddock will now reduce visibility of the saddling of the horses before each race in the Paddock area. This year reserved picnic tables will be moved in front of the Paddock Fencing.

 With the tables in this location there is almost no where a fan can go to view the horses without some serious elbow jostling. The Rail outdoor bar by the Shack Shake is great, but that has reduced visibility of the Paddock area.

Also the TV Platform for NYRA's Talking Horses/Pre race analysis shows takes up space. I love walking the backyard of the Spa, it is like no other track, but the Paddock area is not as open and accessible as other tracks.

Yes, it is still the summer place to be, and I love going there, but NYRA has to be careful to not make the regular faithful customers feel they are not welcome.