- The economy, which I thought was bad, doesn't seem to be damping hotel business in Saratoga.
"We're still having a very solid track season," said Glynn Knight, the general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn on South Broadway. "We have most weekends sold out or very close to being sold out."No worries, apparently, about Fannie and Freddie up there; it's like a different universe. Business is booming for rentals of private homes too.
Hotels located on the city outskirts, such as the Residence Inn at Exit 15 also have record bookings.
"Our pace is up for last year," said Bob Herrold, the inn's general manager. [Saratogian]
"I'm up 40 percent," said Lori Leman, owner of Saratoga Realty Associates. At her last count, Leman rented more than 150 homes for the Saratoga racing season.The popularity of these rentals may be a double-edged sword, as more homeowners are making their houses available in order to compensate for difficult times. Still, Ms. Leman (who is very nice), reports: "Some of the new listings, I couldn't keep them on the Web site as available for more than a few days to a week."
Tom Federlin, owner of Racing City Realty, also says he is up from last year.
"Rentals have been going very strongly," Federlin said. [Saratogian]
Actually, we're now toying with the idea of a rental for the final week now that we've scrapped our plans to go to the Arc. The economy is bad and the dollar sucks, at least where I live. We've actually found a plentiful supply of available homes. Of course, that could be because of the normal drop off in business after the Travers (which doesn't figure to be much of an attraction itself this year, at least competition-wise). But I'm still sticking to at least some of my guns regarding a decline in business, and say 'wait and see,' especially with respect to betting handle.
Yonkers Raceway....or Empire City at Yonkers Raceway to be more accurate, is pushing the 'Staycation' theme hard in the recent radio and TV marketing push which has been aided by their increased revenue splits specifically for that purpose. Pay Off Your Mortgage and Fill Your Gas Tank are the latest promotional contests, with cash prizes of $350,000 and $100,000 respectively to lucky winners, playing upon the two greatest fears currently roiling much of the nation outside of New York's Capital District. Net income from the Yonk's machines were $21.5 million for the first two weeks of July, as opposed to $17.5 million last year, an astounding increase of 23%.
Of course, one of these days/months/years, Yonkers will have competition from the racino at Aqueduct. Tom Precious reports on Bloodhorse.com that the three bidders have all passed a critical background check by the state. Capital Play was able to do so only because Karl O'Farrell stepped down as the company's president because documents needed to complete the background check were not immediately available. That's a weird story for a couple of reasons. For one, O'Farrell had presumably already endured a thorough (and expensive) background check as part of Capital Play's franchise bid, so you'd think that he had whatever documents he needed already in place. And secondly, he's remaining with the company, serving as its community and government relations executive. So are we to really believe that O'Farrell will not reap the benefits should Capital Play win, nor be involved in any decision making?
With the background checks done, Governor Paterson said: "We now started to discuss a process by which we pick a winner." They're just starting that now?
- A commenter writes: Alan, how dare you attack Evening Attire? Oh man. We all have our favorite horses, and not-so favorite horses. For whatever reason, Evening Attire doesn't grab me, never has, and I could care less about him (meaning, Mr. Avenging Copywriter, that I care a little, lol!) There are plenty of blogs and sites out there where you can read all the usual schmaltzy praise for him, which he no doubt deserves. So please lighten up, he's just a dumb old horse that I've probably lost a fair amount of money on over the years! (Written with a smile.)