The State Racing Fan Advisory Council issued its 2012 report to the state Racing and Wagering Board including recommendations to attract fans and improve horseracing facilities, Gannett’s Haley Viccaro reports.
The council held events throughout the past year and gathered ideas from fans and experts to expand and enhance the racing experience. The report includes the ideas proposed and possible changes to the industry.
There were three public forums over the past year conducted by the council to address racing fans’ concerns and recommendations. The forums were located at the Aqueduct Racetrack, Saratoga Race Course and Yonkers Raceway.
Fans focused on issues such as track restorations and repairs, events and advertising, with the overall goal to draw more fans and improve facilities at the three racetracks.
At the Aqueduct Racetrack, fans discussed problems such as the small number of tellers, poor signage and the physical condition of the facility. People also noted the issue of access to the track from the subway.
The Saratoga Race Course forum focused on the large number of races and the quality of the racing diminishing. They also noted the lack of equipment changes and the need for more family friendly events.
Some issues discussed at the Yonkers Raceway forum was the lack of information on the website, the need for more live tellers, increased advertising and more events for fans at the raceway.
With feedback from fans, the council recommended many changes to improve the experience of the sport. A few proposals included takeout rates, track partnership and NYRA reorganization.
The council was started in September 2011 and provides recommendations to the Board on horseracing and how to continue expanding the sport and the number of fans.
The council said the horse industry contributes an estimated $4.2 billion to the state’s economy and the Saratoga Race Course contributes about $200 million annually to the Capital Region.