Who needs a decision on the future of New York's racing franchise or clarity on the Saratoga Race Course land dispute when you've got limited edition Angel Cordero Jr. bobblehead dolls?
The New York Racing Association unveiled the added features and giveaways for the upcoming six-week Saratoga meet, and also fielded questions on what was described as the elephant in the room: the future of New York thoroughbred racing after NYRA's contract to run the franchise expires at the end of this year.
NYRA President Charlie Hayward, racing secretary PJ Campo and first-year Spa facilities manager Charlie Wheeler offered a vision of Saratoga-to-come Monday, June 25, at the Desmond Americana in Colonie.
The meet, which gets under way Wednesday, July 25, and runs through Labor Day, will feature the usual weekly promotional items and another day of Twilight Racing. Something that NYRA is trying out new for this meet is "Breakfast with the Brits," where bettors can wager on simulcast races from England.
Saratoga Race Course patrons will be able to pay their $3 general admission starting just after 7 a.m. to enter a tent area near the track's front gate and bet on races from places like Catterick, Sandown, Thirsk, York, Newmarket, Goodwood, Nottingham and Haydock.
The simulcast races will be available every day but Tuesdays and Sundays " dark days at Saratoga and England, respectively.
When asked if there was a sense of trying to "go out with a bang" as far as promotions go " as this may be NYRA's last year operating the tracks " NYRA communications specialist John Lee said the feeling at NYRA heading into this meet was "business as usual."
"Of course, I'm sure it's in the backs of some peoples' minds, but really, we just had a sense of trying to outdo ourselves from last year," he said.