NYRA touts Saratoga plans

"I think there are two important factors to consider. First, people are not flying as much simply because they don't want to spend a day in an airport. Second, even though the price of gasoline is double what it was a few years ago, people are more willing to drive to a vacation spot close to where they live," said Dalton in a written statement.

Saratoga is close to a three-hour drive from Boston, New York City and Montreal.

Handel pointed out that the races will be broadcast in 32 states and in countries such as Canada, Mexico, England and Austria.

"There will be over 1,000 sites that involved in Saratoga racing," he said.

NYRA still has some issues to deal with, including its bankruptcy and lack of an operator for the video lottery terminals at the Aqueduct track.

Hayward said there are several bidders for the VLT contract including Capital Play who made a bid on the entire franchise last year. New York state considered giving the racing contract to another entity due to NYRA's bankruptcy, but ultimately chose not to give the contract away. There is a tentative 2009 date for an operator to be named and the Video Lottery Terminal's to be made available to the public.

"[We have been] pretty much running on fumes from a financial perspective," he added.

The Saratoga season will go from July 23 through Labor Day, Sept. 1. ""

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