SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. today announced that a series of upgrades will be made to the historic paddock mutuel building at Saratoga Race Course. The work is anticipated to be complete in advance of the 2017 meet.
The project, which is slated to begin in November, will update the building to feature a new slate roof and will also repair and replace the current rafters. The last series of renovations completed on the building was in 2004.
“We at the New York Racing Association have great respect for the history and traditions of our three racetracks, including in particular the Saratoga Race Course – – the oldest active sporting venue in America,” said NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay. “Consistent with our commitment to our facilities and to our traditions, we have renovated several areas of the property over the last three years, as well as introducing new elements, like the Walk of Fame, Fourstardave, and Easy Goer, that provide our fans with insights into the history of this great sport and this great venue. Our efforts to renovate the mutuel barn roof are consistent with the investments we have made over the last several years, and the investments we will make in the future, to ensure that all of our guests have a great experience at the Saratoga Race Course, and are able to better appreciate the history and the tradition of this revered sporting venue.”
The 15,400 square-foot paddock mutuel building, which is located in the center of the track grounds, was built in 1902 and originally used as a saddling shed for horsemen to complete the pre-race saddling ritual in lieu of the open-air paddock area when inclement weather arose. The building was converted to racing offices and mutuel bays in the 1970s. The structure is recognized for its dramatic roofline, which features wood trusses with iron tie rods.
“The historic Saddling Shed is a significant building because it is representative of the improvements made to the Saratoga Race Course at the turn of the century by the Saratoga Association under the leadership by W. C. Whitney. The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation is pleased with the investment that the New York Racing Association is making to preserve this important structure for future generations,” said Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation Executive Director Samantha Bosshart.
“The ongoing investment in capital improvements at the Saratoga Race Course demonstrates NYRA’s commitment to work with the local community to enhance the guest experience,” said Saratoga Race Course Advisory Board Chairman Joseph A. Torani.
The New York Racing Association is collaborating with Frost Hurff Architects of Saratoga Springs and reviewing additional contractor bids for work on the project.
Since 2013, the New York Racing Association has invested more than $23 million in capital improvements at Saratoga Race Course, including the addition of the Walk of Fame, which honors and showcases the achievements of those who have made significant contributions to the sport of thoroughbred racing and to the advancement of Saratoga Race Course. The attraction is designed to provide fans with an area where they can learn, respect and appreciate the greats of the game.
Walk of Fame honorees include all-time Saratoga leading riders John Velazquez, Jerry Bailey and Angel Cordero; Hall of Fame trainers Allen Jerkens, D. Wayne Lukas and William “Bill” Mott; owners W. Cothran “Cot” Campbell, Ogden “Dinny” Mills Phipps and Marylou Whitney; and longtime New York Racing Association race announcer Tom Durkin.
Visitors to Saratoga Race Course in 2016 enjoyed a series of capital improvements and upgrades, including three new high-definition video boards; as well as the addition of two dozen high-definition televisions in the Fourstardave Sports Bar.
NYRA also unveiled two new hospitality areas: The Easy Goer, which sits above the Fourstardave Sports Bar and welcomes guests for a sit-down dining experience underneath a new copper roof; and the new Travers Bar, featuring Moet & Chandon champagne, located on the Clubhouse porch near the maître d stand.
Other enhancements since 2013 have included the addition of more than 1,000 new HD televisions across the venue, stronger Wi-Fi coverage, an enhanced sound system, premium hospitality areas, differentiated food and beverage offerings, the planting of more than 850 new trees throughout the facility, and renovations to the backstretch dormitories.
The 2017 season will see the implementation of the connected venue technology platform VenueNext at Saratoga Race Course. The all-new mobile experience will provide fans with convenience and control over how they experience racing at Saratoga, and is designed to enhance the overall guest experience and improve business outcomes.
For more information about the New York Racing Association, visit NYRA.com.