This is a place for friendly and civil discussion of horse racing of all types including handicapping.
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So, not only is a new Islanders arena going to be built In the parking lot, there's talk of... lights for night racing and a new inner dirt track to go inside the inner turf course?
Mentions Breeders' Cup too...
Yesterday, I read that the residents living in proximity to the track (about 900 households) are filing a lawsuit to block the process. Apparently, there is an article in the law that states at least one community-based group must be included in the planning & this did not happen. The locals were left out.
So, now it's a David & Goliath situation. The homeowners vs. the Guv & the money men, Wilpon (who owns the Mets) & Dolan (who owns Madison Sq. Garden) and others.
The little guys are going to get unceremoniously plowed under.
I wonder if they'll save that big tree in the back of the parking lot, which is an absolute ghost town 364 days of the year.
Personally, I'd like to see the track building rehabilitated simply because it is an historic jewel which has devolved into a cavernous hulk. I'm not optimistic about "new" fans, though. There has been near zero crossover from the gamblers in the casino at AQU to the trackside. At Belmont, it will be like a variation of the old joke - I went to a hockey game & a horse race broke out.
I don't believe that even a grandiose plan like this one can reverse the long cultural shift away from racing for the uninitiated & to get the current bettors & fans away from their computers & back to the track. I wouldn't mind being wrong about it & a surprise renaissance of horse racing occurs.
A lot of this doesn't make sense. NYRA just spent a lot of money at Aqueduct both winterizing the main dirt, and switching the inner dirt back to an outer turf course. Why would they do that, and then a year later, announce they're going to put in a winterized inner dirt at Belmont? I get that they can't ditch live racing at Aqueduct without losing the casino revenues, but the Belmont plans don't make sense.
Renovating the grandstand so it has luxury suites, etc, I get that -- Churchill Downs has been doing a lot of that too. Putting a new Islanders arena in the parking lot, OK, I get that too, it's unused land most of the year anyway (same with Woodbine... I'll believe it when I finally see holes being dug in the ground, they've been talking about it forever with no work to show for it).
A lot of this doesn't make sense.
I agree & I don't have the brain power to figure it out, either! What I do know, as a by-product of having spent most of my life in NY as an observer of those in power, is that I see no reason to think this signals an end to the history of ineptitude, corruption & greed that always seems to ride herd over these massive projects.
Best to you & Cindy, Tex. Thanks for giving all here a place to call a home away from home. :)
Merry Christmas to you too!
I recall an article explaining how, because of NYRA stretching Saratoga meet to almost 7 weeks since it's such a cash cow, Belmont's meets are ridiculously short. Spring meet is May-July, fall is Sep-Oct (or very early Nov)... then they sit at Aqueduct for almost 6 months November-April.
So making a winterized inner at Belmont seems redundant unless they plan to split winter racing between the two places (maybe run Belmont thru Jan then Aqueduct takes over Feb-May?).
The article about the development plans mentions Saratoga could be used more as they "renovate" Belmont. Imagine if they stayed at Aqueduct through Belmont Stakes day then moved to Saratoga. (hell, just run the Belmont at Saratoga...that would be so weird going there to see a Triple Crown run).
I'm also thinking turf preservation plays a huge role here. Think about it, by the time racing moves to Saratoga, when New York has a spring drought Belmont's turf courses start looking very dusty like unwatered sandy dirt tracks. Meanwhile, Aqueduct's turf only gets significant use in November and April, just 2 months a year?
So running at Aqueduct more will increase its 2 courses' utilization while decreasing the abuse at Belmont. (what's the point having 2 turf courses if they don't get used a lot?)
Very good points. Hopefully, the decision-makers in this process are thinking along the same lines.
love your optimism that the decision makers actually have horse racing knowledge along with business acumen.
Merry Christmas to you, my long time friend!
One can always hope!
Merry Christmas to you, too, Nancy and my best to Jason.
Belmont Park = Owned by New York State