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Monday, July 20, 2009

NYRA Promotion Panned

- I mentioned, with a tone of approval, NYRA's planned promotion for college students at Saratoga on September 4, the final Saturday of the meeting. But the editorial page of the Scheectady Gazette doesn't think it's such a good idea.

The promotion will feature raffles for prizes that include $1,000 in “tuition money” after every race. It’s a nice prize, but one we hope NYRA will award as a check made out directly to the school’s bursar, lest any of it get diverted to the $50 window on the way back to campus.

Sorry, but we think the idea of formally introducing college kids to the excitement and beauty of thoroughbred horse racing, as one NYRA official characterized the gambit, is a bad one. That is, unless you’re a race track desperate to fatten your bottom line. [Schenectady Gazette]
Here's a case of damned if you do or damned if don't for NYRA here. Along with most other racing jurisdictions, it's said that not enough is being done to attract a younger crowd. But here, after coming up with what seems to me is a creative and promising promotion, NYRA is getting criticized. Seems to me though that any editorial which has to use a purely fanciful scenario such as tuition winners pissing the money away at the windows to prove its point is stretching to make one.
It is inevitable that for some college kids, the day will be a financial disaster.

Even worse will be if others manage to get bitten by the gambling bug that day, and develop a lifelong problem as a result.
Oh please; this is like a Reefer Madness scenario. It's far more likely that they'll all have a great day and a handful might be enticed to learn more. Anyone subject to a lifelong problem is just, if not more, likely to succumb to the steady stream of lottery ads, or a wild night at the local racino.


Teresa said...

Keeneland's been doing this for years, I think (I happened to be there on college day last year), and it hasn't seem to turn the thousands of UK kids there into inveterate gamblers.

Would that it were so?

Patrick J Patten said...

Keeneland does the same thing. Op-ed pieces are dumb, oh wait i write a blog i take that back.

Anonymous said...

NYRA announced this today about the Saratoga Race Course-

"Hayward said NYRA is considering aesthetic changes, too, such as a tiered paddock viewing area to help fans of all ages get a closer look at the horses." (On line Saratogian)

Upstate Belmont. UGH !

hoist the flag said...

I am no fan of NYRA's customer service and interaction with its patrons, but this is certainly a good move on its part. What the sport needs most is new fans. Efforts by the tracks to attract new fans or win back old ones, such as Churchill's night racing experiment and this NYRA promotion, should be applauded. This is the kind of thing all tracks should be considering.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one who thought that editorial was ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

It is actually such a good idea that they should expand it, why limit only to native Saratogan college kids?

They should do the same thing at Belmont the first Friday back from the Spa and perhaps a Wednesday in the middle of the meet (kids are off ya know does not have to be a Friday).

My friends kids saw the advertisement and were thinking of a road trip, until they realized they would be back at their respective schools and unable to attend.

Anonymous said...

Yes, by all means get the college kids into the Spa. They just might get caught by the bug- as did I- when they see a lot of their peers who have already discovered this great place to see and be seen.

At that age, as I recall, as dimly in the past as it is, the track- Saratoga- meant a very cool venue for meeting your friends, watching others your age, and perhaps making new friends in the bargain.

Most of all, the track, especially Saratoga, is a unique, interesting slice of life that will fascinate any young person looking for new experiences. I always see ample numbers of young people in the Spa Backyard, they help liven up the place. /s/greenmtnpunter