- Ground was broken on an addition to the racino at Saratoga's harness track. According to the Albany Times-Union, 50,000 people visit the facility each week, prompting the racino's president Daniel Gerrity to proclaim, "We're already the No. 1 attraction in the whole Capital Region area." I imagine that folks down in Albany would have a problem with that statement, but it's hard to argue with the numbers.
Already, each VLT averages some $252 in revenues daily [there are 1,324 machines] -- $27 more than expected per machine. That's meant some $148 million in revenues for the state since the racino opened Jan. 28, 2004, according to Susan E. Miller, executive deputy director of the state Lottery. [Albany Times-Union]The $15 million expansion will bring 400 additional machines, a restaurant, and a two-story nightclub. The project is proceeding at the behest of the state, and over the objections of the city. In fact, the state has refused to even meet with the city to discuss objections to the plan, and cancelled one that was scheduled, saying that they didn't have a big enough conference room.
"I guess the state of New York doesn't have a conference room big enough to hold 25 peo¬ple," [Saratoga mayor Valerie] Keehn said. "We invited them here saying we have plen¬ty of conference rooms big enough to hold 25 people.Shows you that action on a racino in this state can proceed if the state really wants it to!
It was clear from the beginnning that the state Lottery and [Office of General Services] didn't want any public input on this project." [Saratogian]
And it won't be long until an incredible 5,500 VLT's are online at Yonkers Raceway. It will start with a mere preview of 1,871 machines in the existing clubhouse - more than the eventual total at Saratoga. And in the end, the total could, by law, reach as high as 7,500! The fans will have to wait just a little longer though. A "soft opening" that was scheduled for today has been pushed back to next week.
- Another big yearling purchase for Darley, and another coup for Roy and Gretchen Jackson. A Pivotal foal out of the couple's Bordighera, the dam of George Washington, sold to Darley for $2,378,400, despite the fact that Coolmore did not participate in the bidding for their three-year old star's half-brother. I guess the Sheikh isn't worried about dropping oil prices.