Charles Hayward told a rapt audience in Saratoga on Tuesday that the opening of the Big A racino, originally hoped for in May, won't happen until late summer. That's hardly a surprise to anyone who's been at the track lately. I could be wrong, but from the look of the place, unless they've made substantial progress in the couple of weeks since I've been there, I think they'll be doing quite well to have it open by the time the place reopens for racing in the fall.
"It’s a complicated construction....There’s been a lot more lead paint remediation than they expected. It’s an old building. They didn’t get started until almost the end of last year." [Saratogian]Hayward said that Saratoga will be first priority as far as capital projects go, for which NYRA "conservatively expects to get $22 million to $25 million per year," according to Saratogian reporter Paul Post.
Saratoga will get the most attention because it’s the oldest facility with the most needs, and also because it’s NYRA’s most high-profile and lucrative meet.Well, of course I understand that the backstretch there desperately needs immediate attention, and that the plant requires work on infrastructure items such as plumbing and electrical. However, and as I have written before, from a selfish point of view from a guy who figures to be happy to be able to spend a week's worth of racing there for the year (though I could do more if the Head Chef and I weren't currently addicted to Del Mar and the natural beauties of the surrounding area), I'd point out that the meet has been the most high-profile and lucrative one for quite a long time in its current condition. And that it's a pretty fantastic place that is easily able to accommodate the large crowds as it is right now. I'm not really sure what they could do to improve the place other than to construct a retractable dome to keep the rain out.
So I hope that us degenerates who brave the weather and willingly tolerate the dilapidated condition of the downstate plants to support the sport year-round get a break soon too. I'll be pretty disappointed if the racing side at Aqueduct is in the same worn and weary state at this time next year.