Issuu on Google+

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects 1st September 2011


2

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Contents

1.

Introduction and Summary

4

2.

The History of New York Racing Association

6

3.

The Challenges for the Future

22

4.

The VLT Monies and an Approach to Strategy

28

5. 6.

Potential Projects

33

Public Consultations and Next Steps

73

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

3


Introduction and Summary

In 2008 the New York Racing Association (NYRA) was granted a new 25-year franchise to operate Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course by the State of New York. This brought to an end a difficult period in the history of NYRA. The award of the new franchise involved the transfer of the ownership of the race courses to the State alongside a contract for NYRA to receive certain proportions of monies from the Video Lottery Terminal facility (VLT) at Aqueduct Racetrack when such a VLT Facility was up and operating. Among other payments for purses and operations, the VLT payments to NYRA for Capital Projects would amount to 4% of the Win-per-Machine for all the machines that will exist at Aqueduct. This position is clear and straightforward as the franchise agreement stipulates that the 4% Capital Monies can only be spent as Capital. It is therefore essential that NYRA develops and then

4

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

delivers a Capital Plan to apply these monies during the franchise period. This document summarizes the progress made to date and the process NYRA intends to embark upon to allocate and then undertake projects at the three franchise racetracks. The development of racing in New York through the 19th and then first part of the 20th century was rather disparate but became significantly more organized in 1955 with the creation of NYRA which took ownership of Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Jamaica and Saratoga. This infusion of capital led to the 1956 Jockey Club Plan which resulted in the rebuilding of Aqueduct in 1959; the closure of Jamaica in 1960; the extension of the Saratoga Grandstand in 1965; and the rebuilding of Belmont Park in 1968. This model was predicated on significant on-track betting based on a pre-OTB model. The 1956 plan was the last comprehensive overview of the facilities for New York Racing and the execution of a co-ordinated plan. In the interim not only has the racing landscape changed, the world has changed and the tracks suffer from a legacy of nearly


half a century of under-investment. Any plan must therefore be conceived to deal with the future while acknowledging the past. In particular, it must provide facilities that allow for the sustainability of New York Racing in all respects to ensure a thriving industry for the long-term benefit of all. It is this sustainability that has been the driving factor in any analysis to date. The first VLT monies will be available this fall and it is therefore prudent for NYRA to identify a strategy to spend such monies. However, due to the financial constraints on NYRA since the commencement of the new franchise, funding has not been available to undertake the detailed analysis required to determine a final strategy. In 2008 NYRA appointed Turnberry Consulting US, Inc. to assist NYRA with its Capital Projects Strategy. However, work has been undertaken on a stop/start basis. Eventually the award of the VLT contract in 2010 provided sufficient stability to carry out some analysis during 2011, culminating in this document. The 2011 analysis was founded on a decision of the NYRA Board of Directors at Saratoga in 2010 to focus on Saratoga in the short term, until the Aqueduct VLTs were open and there was a clearer picture of what a redevelopment at Belmont might look like in the longer term. As the opening of the VLTs gets closer, Genting New York LLC, the VLT operator, is regularly reviewing their win-per-machine targets. At present, their 4% forecast for capital is $27.6M annually. Clearly this is still a forecast pending the actual returns – and it should be noted that, in the short term, NYRA has loans to repay from these monies.

Draft Capital Projects Strategy 1. Monitor the performance of Aqueduct and consider modest improvements commensurate with the VLT operation; 2. Develop backstretch housing at Belmont without prejudice to any longterm development plans and consider implementation of a first project; 3. Focus strategy for improvements to the frontside and backside of Saratoga; 4. Undertake a feasibility study of the best longterm solution for Belmont Park to facilitate New York racing and consider implementation when conditions and funding are appropriate; 5. Spend Year 1 monies prior to significant capital projects on downstate maintenance; 6. Analyze the projects set out in this paper and consider further in 2012. It should be noted that the text above is set out as draft. This is for three reasons: 1. NYRA has not had the funding to undertake the extent of feasibility necessary to arrive at detailed plans, costings and financial assessments to identify which projects should be preferred; 2. The extent of capital available is a function of VLT income and it will be better to assess future income when the VLTs are operational and the impact on NYRA’s finances can be analyzed to establish if it can successfully raise a bond; and, most importantly,

A potential approach for committing the capital is as follows:

• Continue to train at Aqueduct and consider modest improvements to the racing elements dependent on the nature of the VLT operation; • Spend initial monies on maintenance at Belmont, undertake a pathfinder dorm project and start a feasibility study for an appropriate longterm solution for Belmont alongside the future of Aqueduct; and • Focus feasibility on frontside and backside projects at Saratoga. This is set out in more detail together with the potential projects later in this document. The pace at which projects can be implemented, if NYRA decides to capitalize the income, will depend on the timing of NYRA achieving positive net revenue. If a draft strategy is pursued as set out at the foot of this page, then in 2012 NYRA can consider a formal strategy based on actual income flows, detailed design of projects, reliable cost information and a business plan to assess the projects against each other. For now the working basis is as follows:

3. NYRA has been criticized historically for failing to consult or engage in debate on future projects. This, therefore, is a change in approach. NYRA wants to fully understand all relevant views before it determines how NYRA thinks the capital can best be applied. The information in this document is therefore for consultation and comment. NYRA has made no decisions on any first project or first priority. With the scope of the historical work prepared for Aqueduct and Belmont, NYRA has identified all the projects that have emerged from a variety of sources at Saratoga. This document sets out those projects. As a result of this consultation, NYRA will undertake more analysis and continue engagement with stakeholders. The aim is that, by the end of the summer of 2012, NYRA will be in a position to determine which projects should be prioritized alongside the available funding. This document sets out the history and context of the three tracks under consideration, the analysis behind the approach to date and the potential projects that have been identified. Much of the information is in draft form. NYRA wanted early dialogue which by its very nature will result in partial information, and this should be accepted as a consequence of consultation.

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

5


The History of New York Racing Association Early Beginnings

No one can say with any certainty when horse racing first started, but surely as long as there have been people and horses, horses have raced. Horse racing ranks amongst the most ancient of sports. From the days of nomadic tribesmen racing the earliest domesticated horses across the plains of central Asia, pitting the speed and endurance of horses has gripped the imagination of mankind. It is Britain, though, that is the country long credited with fathering the modern sport of thoroughbred racing. Racing was established in Britain by the Middle Ages and by the seventeenth century the roots of modern, organized horse racing first took hold, under the fashionable impetus of the Stuart kings. The British colonialists who ventured across the Atlantic to the New World were loath to forego their fashionable gentlemanly sports and quickly established horse racing in North America. Racing was as yet ad hoc and unplanned, but it flourished in the Southern colonies where the “Cavalier Colonialists” engendered a passion for turf sports. The cleared tobacco fields of Virginia made the perfect setting for trials of speed. The circular or elliptical shape of these impromptu tracks – or so-called racefields – gave a foretaste of what was later to become the standard oval track format. It was, however, in New York that the country’s first regular race track was laid out. Concerned about the dearth of good horses, in 1665 the British governor of the New York colony, Richard Nicholls, built a large, oval turf track on the open flatlands of Long Island known as Hempstead Plain (presentday Jamaica). Christened Newmarket, for over 100 years all New York society, from governors, to gentry to farmers, flocked to this track. It was the first in a long line of celebrated New York racetracks. The tracks of the Northern colonies were, typically, a mile around, with a grass surface marked out by poles. It was not until the opening of the celebrated Union Course in Long Island in 1819 that dirt tracks began to be popular. Contemporary commentator Cadwallader R. Colden observed that “the same horses take from three to five seconds more time to run a mile over the New Market turf than over the naked soil of the Union Course”. Yielding faster racing, Union Course’s “skinned”

6

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

Top: Union Course Bottom: Jerome Park

surface served as a new model for American tracks. Another first was also seen at Union – it was the earliest course to be entirely surrounded by railings. Watching from carriages or upon horseback (there were no such luxuries as grandstands yet), racegoers gathered in their thousands at Union to watch some of racing history’s most stirring and bitter contests. Not least of these was the North –South contest, opening on May 23, 1823. North Carolinian William Ransom Johnson – known as the “Napoleon of the Turf” - had challenged Yankee industrialist Cornelius Van Ranst to pit his racehorse, American Eclipse, against Johnson’s five-year-old Sir Henry. The match sparked a sporting frenzy. Astronomical sums were bet and up to 60,000 clamored to watch what was, in effect, America’s first national sports event. In the decades following the Civil War, New York became the uncontested center of American thoroughbred racing. Instrumental in this was the appearance on the racing scene of a group of


Following in the footsteps of Jerome Park’s success, thoroughbred racing soon also boomed in Long Island, in localities which later became part of Brooklyn. The “discovery” of Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay in the 1870s as the favored beach and fishing resorts of New York’s elite led to the creation of three thoroughbred tracks in close proximity to one another. Brighton Beach Race Course was the first of the three. Opened on June 18, 1879, its early meetings of five or six days’ duration were an instant success. Easily accessible and surrounded by fine hotels, music halls and other attractions, the Brighton track flourished, although it never attained the stature of the Sheepshead Bay track. Sheepshead Bay, established in 1880, was easily the most glamorous and best remembered of the three Brooklyn tracks. Operated by the Coney Island Jockey Club, it ranked eminent turfsmen such as Leonard W. Jerome, Pierre Lorillard, August Belmont and William K. Vanderbilt amongst its founders and transformed the area into a busy racing colony. Over its lifetime, great races like the Suburban (1884), the Futurity (1888), and the Realisation (1889) were inaugurated on its tracks.

Top: Brighton Beach Bottom: Sheepshead Bay

immensely wealthy new capitalists, including August Belmont, D. D. Withers, Leonard Jerome, Pierre Lorillard, William R. Travers and William C. Whitney. Investing far more in racing than had ever been done before, this influential group revolutionized the nation’s racing, building glamorous new racetracks adjacent to large urban centers and within easy reach of railroad lines. The most important of these new racetracks was Jerome Park. In 1865, Leonard W. Jerome, prominent lawyer, publisher and financier brought the old Bathgate estate at Fordham for the purpose of building an elegant new racetrack, the first major circuit to be built after the Civil War. Completed in 1866, it became the most important thoroughbred racecourse of its time and a byword for opulence. Jerome Park lit up the New York racing scene, establishing stakes events still on the calendar. In 1867, the Belmont Stakes had its inaugural run there, where it remained until 1890 when the racetrack closed to make room for the Jerome Park Reservoir.

The last of the three Brooklyn tracks to open was Gravesend. Run by Mike and Phil Dwyer, two of the most spectacular horse-owners of the post Civil-War decades, the Gravesend track was ready for business by summer 1886. It inaugurated the Brooklyn Handicap, the Gazelle and the Tremont in 1887. Easy to get to and with an informality which pleased the public, the track enjoyed a not insubstantial success. In the summer of 1888 the building of New York’s next showcase track began. Morris Park, as the track was named after its founder John A. Morris, opened on August 20, 1889 two miles east of Jerome Park, in what is currently the centre of the Bronx and where it continued to operate until 1904. Sporting a Pompeian villa style, its buildings were possibly even more lavish than those of Jerome Park. According to The New York Times, it was more attractive and grand than any racegoer’s wildest dreams, and the newspaper praised John A. Morris for making the comfort of his patrons his principal thought. By 1903, the future of Morris Park was in doubt though and New York’s turf giants began planning a new home for racing. Thus the seeds of Belmont Park were sown. Opening in Long Island in 1905, it was heralded as the “grandest race course in the history of the world”. Laid out over 650 acres, it was the largest track in the country and immediately earned a national reputation which continues to this day.

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

7


The History of New York Racing Association The Greater New York Association

In August 1953 a group of sportsmen and members of the New York Racing Commission gathered for a dinner at Saratoga Race Course. The evening was to prove a far-reaching one. New York’s racing had reached a nadir, the Commission’s chairman Ashley Trimble Cole announced to the assembled company, and if the industry did not act quickly to reverse this then the state would take control of the problem itself.   Since the Civil War, New York had been the leader in American racing. The charm, glamor and high-quality racing of the metropolitan Jerome, Morris and Belmont Parks and upstate Saratoga drew wealthy patrons and the best stables to the state. Yet by the mid-twentieth century, a handful of other states were challenging its crown. New Jersey’s recently opened Monmouth Park was hugely popular, whilst its Garden State Park track created the richest stakes race in Jamaica Race Track

8

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

the world, the Garden State Futurity. Rich purses were also on offer in Chicago. In 1953, the champion three-year-old Native Dancer earned $97,725 and $66,500 for winning the Arlington Classic and American Derby respectively at Chicago’s Arlington Park; it received only $18,850 for victory at Saratoga’s Travers Stakes. Native Dancer’s appearance at the Travers drew a record attendance. Yet, even considering the celebrity of the equine star, a record crowd for Saratoga at this time was a mere 28,260 – an exceptionally modest figure given that today’s Saratoga meeting averages nearly 22,000 attendees on a regular day. Both in prestige and financial health, the New York industry was flagging. Turfites feared for the very survival of Saratoga; it was earning the state less tax revenue than would a comparable downstate venue.   Cole’s pronouncement spurred New York’s racing leadership into action. A committee was formed of three prominent entrepreneurs and Jockey Club members, John W. Hanes, Christopher T. Cheney and Harry F. Guggenheim, who


promptly set about creating a new vision for racing within the state. They quickly concluded that the state’s disjointed racing industry needed consolidation and recommended that a non-profit corporation be formed in order to purchase New York’s four principal tracks – Saratoga, Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Jamaica. In so doing, they justified, the efficient operation of the tracks would be assured; the thoroughbred industry would be kept free of political influence whilst giving the state its fair share of revenue; and New York racing could be made competitive once more with the modernization of its facilities. In October 1955 their vision was inaugurated as the Greater New York Association, quickly renaming itself the New York Racing Association (NYRA). It was granted a 25year franchise to run the four tracks on a not-for-profit basis. In return, it received 1% of the pari-mutuel revenue from the state’s tax coffers to reinvest as track improvements. It was a new era for racing across the state. NYRA had big plans. Aqueduct was rebuilt as a state-ofthe-art modern racing facility, completed in 1959; Jamaica was scheduled for closure as soon as the new Aqueduct was complete; Belmont Park was rebuilt from 1962-8, opening in time for the 100th running of the Belmont Stakes. By 1959, nearly $34 million had been expended on Aqueduct, over $7 million on Belmont Park, and $1 million on Saratoga. Attendances at New York courses surged, the money rolled in, and the quality of New York racing was back in full force. Aqueduct, 1959

Top: Saratoga, 1958

Bottom: Belmont Park, 1957

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

9


The History of New York Racing Association Aqueduct

When, in October 1955, the Greater New York Association assumed the operation of the four existing Thoroughbred tracks in New York, its Board of Trustees immediately proceeded to determine how to carry what was almost a mandate from the Governor, Legislature and Racing Commission, namely the building of a new track in the New York Metropolitan Area.

10

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

By June the following year, a special committee had resolved that Aqueduct Racetrack be razed and rebuilt to give the city a vast, modern racing complex and breathe new life into the state’s floundering racing industry. Aqueduct’s history stretched back to 1894 when, on September 27 that year, the Queens County Jockey Club inaugurated racing there. It was a humble beginning. Racing


historian Walter Vosburgh described its grandstand as “such as might be seen at a county fair” while the clubhouse “could only be described as a shanty held up by stilts”. However, support by racing enthusiasts along with the tremendous response to the track from the population of New York, enabled major improvements to be made to Aqueduct. The presidency of Phillip Dwyer from 1905 to 1917 saw Aqueduct's emergence as a major racing center. He acquired more land, enlarged the size of the track and completely rebuilt the stands. By the early twentieth century, even Vosburgh deemed it “one of the finest race-courses in the country”. By the time that NYRA took control of the track, it covered a property of 203 acres and possessed its own subway line. The association was determined that it should become a touchstone of the racing world and allotted a budget of $30,000,000 for its transformation. A special committee advised that its facilities should include a one-and-oneeighth mile dirt track; a grandstand and clubhouse seating

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

11


20,000; 80 acres of parking; and a stable area of 500 stalls. By December 1956 the architectural firm Arthur Froehlich and Associates was instructed to proceed at full speed with the preparations of full plans for a new Aqueduct. Froehlich (1909-1985) was the premier designer of racetracks of the day. After completing his education at the University of California, Berkeley, he worked in the office of one of Los Angeles’ leading architects, John Parkinson. As early as 1938, he had established his own practice which, in 1949, received the first of its many racetrack commissions, Hollywood Park in California. In little time, the firm had built an enviable reputation for the design of critically-acclaimed, cutting-edge horseracing facilities. The firm’s racetrack portfolio included Roosevelt Raceway in New York and the Hipódromo La Rinconada in Venezuela. Froehlich created at Aqueduct a cutting-edge facility. By January 28, 1957 work had started on the razing of its grandstand and by the summer of 1959, it was ready for its grand opening. Nothing remained of the old Aqueduct except a furlong pole, a memorial to Man o' War's victory in the Dwyer Stakes in 1920. Quickly dubbed “The Big A’” crowds of up to 70,000 began to pour through its gates. On May 31, 1965, 73,375 spectators were on hand at Aqueduct to watch Gun

12

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

Bow win the Metropolitan Mile - it was the largest crowd to ever attend a thoroughbred horse-racing event in New York. Aqueduct continued to lead the field when, in 1976, its main turf course was uprooted and replaced with an inner dirt track to enable year-round racing to take place. However, other than hosting the Breeders’ Cup in 1985, Aqueduct had been in slow decline until the arrival of the VLT operations in 2011.


The History of New York Racing Association Belmont Park

When the Westchester Racing Association announced the construction of a new track in 1903, the Illustrated Sporting News confidently anticipated the “grandest race course in the history of the world�. In 1895 the New York Racing Association which operated Morris Park had been dissolved and the Westchester Racing Association stepped in to operate the track on a lease basis. Now the venerable track was to be abandoned and the association was to build a replacement. Their plans bore the stamp of grandeur that had come to characterise New York racing in the Gilded Age.

Founded by turf giants such as William C. Whitney, J. P. Morgan, W. K. Vanderbilt and August Belmont II, the new track was cast in a heroic mould from the outset. At the suggestion of Whitney, the course was to be named Belmont Park in honour of the first August Belmont. With a mile-and-ahalf track, it was the biggest in the country and in the English tradition, ran races clockwise. The main track itself had four chutes, and inside a grass course of a mile-and-three-eighths and a steeplechase course of a mile-and-a-quarter. To the east was a one-mile training track. At the heart of the complex stood the towering green-and-straw colored stands seating almost 15,000 spectators (11,000 in the grandstand; 4,000 in the field stand) in steep tiers. At the western end of the grandstand stood the luxurious clubhouse, an

Belmont Park, racing clockwise

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

13


Belmont Park Field Stand and Grandstand

Belmont Park Clubhouse

imposing three-story granite and terracotta building accessible to members of the Westchester Racing Association alone. The saddling paddock, “the most beautiful seen anywhere in this country”, was beyond the clubhouse and the huge betting ring, with some 300 bookmakers operating on opening day, was under the grandstand. It was so spacious that betters agreed it was a pleasure to make their play without being trampled on.

disaster struck. Shortly before 3am on April 7, watchman James Mahoney and John Cochran, a stable foreman, discovered six separate fires in various parts of the track. The main grandstand, the Belmont Park Terminal Stand, and the jockeys’ quarters were completed destroyed; the luxurious clubhouse and field stand were also damaged. War-time shortages meant materials for its rebuilding were in scarce supply but for two years racing continued in front of makeshift viewing structures. It was not until 1921 that major renovations were complete. The grandstand was completely rebuilt and made one with the old field stand. The seating capacity was increased to 17,500 and the seats brought closer to the track. A promenade and mezzanine were added. Moreover, the direction of racing was changed from clockwise to counterclockwise, the dominant pattern in the US.

Its opening day on May 4, 1905 was an unmitigated success. Its patrons welcomed the track’s bucolic green setting as a contrast to the stark surroundings of more business-like racing facilities. “People were in ecstasies over it”, wrote racing official and historian Walter Vosburgh. Its first day was marked by the Metropolitan Handicap, first run at Morris Park in 1891 and transferred to the track like many other established prizes. Anti-gambling legislation halted racing at Belmont between 1911 and 1912, but following its reinstatement the crowds flocked back to the young lodestar of New York racing. In 1917, however,

14

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

By 1953, Belmont was affected by the general decline in New York’s racing quality and its facilities. Following the formation of the New York Racing Association in 1955, it underwent a two-year programme of improvement works from October 22,


1956 to May 12, 1958 “designed to correct major outstanding deficiencies for the convenience of the public”. Within the grandstand, 10,000 linear feet of corrosion-damaged seating decks were replaced and three double banks of escalators were installed; the original clubhouse was demolished; and the old judges’ tower was removed from the infield and a new judging stand erected on the grandstand roof. A hump was removed from the infield which hampered sightlines from the grandstand and a new turf and steeplechase course was installed. Special emphasis was placed on transportation and parking in the improvement operation. Approaches to the track were redesigned to facilitate the flow of automobiles and bus traffic. The old railroad terminal was demolished and a new railroad and bus terminal with a greater capacity and a covered pedestrian overpass to the grandstand took its place. Roadways were widened and additional parking provided. From 1963 to 1967, however, Belmont again felt idle. On April 10, 1963 NYRA announced that engineering surveys by two separate firms showed that the Belmont grandstand was

unsafe because of age-induced structural defects and that no alternative was left but to demolish it. The reports noted that the damage was so extensive that the cost of repairs would be prohibitive. The thud of the wreckers’ ball was heard throughout the summer of 1963 and into the fall. By November 15, 1963 the demolition job was completed and a new Belmont Park took shape. Aqueduct’s architect, Arthur Froehlich, was responsible for its redesign. His red-brick and sandstone design complete with handsome arched windows upheld echoes of the old Belmont. The paddock was preserved, with its venerable old white pine still at its centre. The total cost of refurbishment was $31,000,000. It reopened on May 20, 1968, in time to host the one hundredth running of the Belmont Stakes. Over the years, Belmont’s wide, sweeping turns and long homestretch have played host to champions of the likes of Man O’War, Citation, Native Dancer, and Ruffian. From the day it opened in 1905, the mere mention of Belmont Park has conjured memories of great trainers, jockeys and horses. It is, quite simply, a place of champions. Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

15


The History of New York Racing Association Saratoga Race Course

When the nineteenth century opened, barely 1,000 travellers passed through Saratoga Springs in any one year; by 1900, the picturesque, upstate New York town was attracting almost 200,000 visitors annually. With the help of a handful of visionary individuals, the tiny community in the southern foothills of the Adirondack Mountains had transformed itself into the ‘Queen of Spas’, where pleasure seekers from across the land were drawn to its hotels and boarding houses, to enter into its round of dancing, banquets and gaming.

Frontside circa 1892

16

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

Two of these visionaries were Alfonso Patten and James M. Cole, local butchers and livery keepers. Seizing upon the arrival of the New York State Fair in Saratoga in the summer of 1847, the pair laid out a new trotting track – Saratoga Springs’s first racing circuit. Its oval track had a seven furlong circumference (7/8 mile) alongside which was built a grandstand. While the New York Herald sneered that “such an establishment is not much of a recommendation for the morals of a neighborhood” (August 10, 1847), the trotting course was largely enthusiastically received. Its site is well known today as the location of the present-day Horse Haven, Saratoga’s bucolic training and stabling ground.


e for was l hand n

da ed

t y of ’s ed aves but low re of for opened y of most

site

r sides, m f was k, the ging

l

l well. ave

Betting Ring

of antigambling sentiment. Many of the most prominent stables deserted Saratoga and racing programmes languished. Several standing atand Horse Haven datecrowd from and The trackbuildings drew anstill unprofitable insalubrious this early period, notably an ice house, farmhouse and large the resort as a whole was tarnished. barn all bearing Greek Revival detailing typical of pre-1850 domestic construction in the United States. As the racing Mercifully, though, a savior emerged in the form of venture prospered scattered groupings of stables appeared politician, speculator and scion of one of the country’s most on the infield. Dating probably from the late 1840s to early prominent families – William Collins Whitney (18411860s, they were timber-framed structures all built to a basic 1904). The public-spirited lodestar of New York society, formula of single-loaded stalls below a half-story loft space Whitney had a distinguished record as the corporate counsel roofed with slate. They continue to be as much a part of the of New York City; had served as secretary of the navy under Saratoga season today as they were in the days of Patten President Cleveland; and had made his fortune in the heady and Cole.

days of American industrial expansion.

For 16 years Horse Haven served as the popular staging

In 1900 of heSaratoga’s joined forces with financier andtown’s Saratoga ground trotting races, but the racing partisan, Richard T. Wilson Jr., to rescue Saratoga credentials were about to step up a gear. On August Race 3, 1863 Course, andcivil the war following year bought the vilified while bitter was consuming the out nation, thousands Walbaum. sooner than deal was done, thebeat reborn gathered toNo watch Lizzie W.,the a three-year old filly, the colt Captain Moore to the post in the first race of an experimental meeting of thoroughbred running races at Saratoga’s trotting track.

The meeting was a resounding success, and on the day after the last race its organizer John Morrissey drew together a band of society magnates and turf enthusiasts to found a jockey club – the Saratoga Association. A new track was summarily planned on land opposite the trotting course. It opened on August 2, 1864 to a jubilant reception. Its opening was a landmark day in American sporting history – the track was the United States’ first modern sports facility and one which continues today as the oldest extant example in the country. The complex featured a mile-long circuit and a simple, timber grandstand, architecturally modest but functionally

Saratoga Association led by Whitney embarked upon an immediate and momentous transformation of the course. appropriate. The building’s sole decoration were the The buildings, backstretch and landscape were coordinated shamrock-shaped “gingerbread” cut-outs on its gable in an integrated design under the direction of landscape ends, evocative of the Carpenter Gothic architectural style, engineer Charles Leavitt (1871-1928). Leavitt produced the a curious nineteenth-century hybrid unique to America. earliest-known master plan of the Saratoga Race Course. The Judging by the commendations of the contemporary circuit was enlarged from a mile to a mile and one-eighth, press, the complex was an uncontested hit. “Neither pains rotated 25 degrees and slid westwards. The grandstand was nor expense have been spared to render it perfect in all lengthened, increasing its seating capacity by fifty per cent departments,” rhapsodized one commentator. It was “a to 6,000, and rotated to accord with the new track layout. To model institution”, he continued. the rear of the clubhouse, a vast saddling shed (250 x 72 feet) was erected. Containing 25 stalls, here that the horses Nevertheless, in the last decade of it thewas nineteenth were saddled and paraded rainy days until 1963. Akin to century, Morrissey’s “modelon institution” was thoroughly the spirit of the grandstand and clubhouse, it was a simple, transformed by a comprehensive architectural remodeling timber-framed structure with an exposed, heavy timber truss under the aegis of the course’s new owner, Gottfried frame a slate mansard “Dutchwhich Fred” upheld Walbaum. Walbaum wasroof. an ignominious figure of the New York underworld who, it was reported,

The saddling shedrunning stood at the heart the paddock, made his money a brothel andofgambling houseain

Manhattan as well as the Guttenberg track in New Jersey, a track so notorious that it became “a synonym for all the crookedness…in the horse-racing business.” Yet it was during the tenure of this unlikely architectural patron that in 1892 Saratoga entered its golden age of architecture with an inspired state-of-the-art racing complex featuring a new grandstand, clubhouse and betting ring. Its architect, Herbert Langford Warren (1857-1917), injected a sense of style into what had previously been an essentially sober and serviceable building type. Warren was a renowned figure in Boston’s Arts and Crafts movement, who had studied under one of the nineteenth century’s most celebrated architects, H. H. Richardson, and by the time of his death was dean of Harvard’s School of Architecture. Regrettably, of the complex that Warren designed at Saratoga, only the grandstand survives today.

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

17


Clubhouse, Grandstand, Betting Ring and Field Stand circa 1922

It is not only the oldest stand still in use in American thoroughbred racing, but the oldest continuously-used stand of any professional sport in the country. Extending 200 feet in length, the grandstand was a timber building with raked seating. Its basic construction was spartan and functional, but it was crowned with a strikingly unique feature – a vast slate roof supported by a timber trusswork system. The roof’s sweeping silhouette, dominated by clusters of sloping turrets at its centre and ends, made for an iconic outline. It was reflective of the widespread popularity of the Queen Anne style in United States architecture between circa 1880 and 1910, in which steeply sloping roofs were a key feature. The roof was carried upon a heavy timber frame of exposed Howe trusses. Its most unique and distinctive feature was the cross-bracing that extended along the grandstand’s roof plate, which made for a singularly bold and effective motif. While the frame was undoubtedly a structural device, under Warren’s skillful hand it was elevated to a decorative piece of design in its own right. At the western end of the grandstand, Warren designed a clubhouse (replaced 1928). A two-story, timber-framed structure, it was built smaller, lower and at an angle to the grandstand. Its steep, slate gable roof with a peak at

18

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

either end provided a continuation of the horizontality of the grandstand’s roof and extended over the clubhouse’s elegant, curving, double-height veranda which projected outwards onto the trackside. The roof’s overhanging eaves and conical peaks again evoked the Queen Anne style, but other design influences were at work too. The long and low profile, overhanging eaves, and exposed timber structure of the complex equally revealed the contemporary vogue for Japonisme – the taste for the arts of Japan. Japan had opened its doors to the West in the 1850s, precipitating a flurry of American interest in its architecture. The fashion was most emphatic in Warren’s design for the betting ring. The betting ring (demolished 1963) stood at the opposite end of the grandstand. It was a single-story, exposed timber-framed construction which housed the stalls, or cages, of the bookmakers. The pavilion was open to all sides, but a long, low slate roof sheltered the bookmakers from above. Like the clubhouse and the grandstand, the roof was the building’s distinguishing motif. From a hipped peak, the slate roof sloped gently outwards into flaring, overhanging eaves making for a low and swooping silhouette. The new complex was nothing short of an architectural revolution. For the first time, the racetrack’s pleasure-


seeking patrons could enjoy the sport in surroundings not only commodious but at the height of architectural fashion. However, beneath the surface all was far from well. Walbaum’s infamy caused a media storm and a tidal wave of antigambling sentiment. Many of the most prominent stables deserted Saratoga and racing programmes languished. The track drew an unprofitable and insalubrious crowd and the resort as a whole was tarnished. Mercifully, though, a savior emerged in the form of politician, speculator and scion of one of the country’s most prominent families – William Collins Whitney (1841-1904). The public-spirited lodestar of New York society, Whitney had a distinguished record as the Clubhouse corporate counsel of New York City; had served as vast lawn behind the clubhouse within the wider expanse main entrance, a new gate created an impressive, wellAt three storeys tall, the steel-framed clubhouse towered secretary of the navy under President Cleveland; and of the Back Yard. The paddock was the site of the great groomed street frontage. “The track was always a beautiful over the grandstand. Gone was the curving outline of the old Saratoga tradition thatfortune took placein from earliest days of of American sport,” wrote the November 1902 were edition coordinated of Munsey’s clubhouse, this wasdesign a long, rectangular had made his thetheheady days in an integrated under structure the roofed by a the Saratoga Association - the saddling of the horse under Magazine, “under the magic touch of its new owners it simple slate mansard roof with a single finial at each end. It industrial expansion. direction of landscapehadengineer Leavitt (1871the trees surrounded by the racetrack community of jockeys, became a paradise.” none of theCharles drama or imagination of the sloping planes

grooms, trainers, owners, and clientele.5 The groupings of tall of thethe Victorian structures. The building’s distinctive 1928). Leavitt produced earliest-known mastermost plan trees that populated the paddock served as informal stalls From the late 1920s, the frontside as Dutch Fred or feature was its western end, where architect Samuel Adams In 1900 he joined forces with financier and Saratoga of the Saratoga Race Course. The circuit was enlarged and exercise rings where the pre-race saddling ritual took Whitney would have known it changed considerably. It Clark had created an august-looking porch, referred to as partisan, Wilson to rescue place, unless ofRichard course rain T. drove it underJr., the cover of the Saratoga was a timeRace of growing attendancesfrom at the a Race Course, “Landing Stage”. Bringing a touch Ancient Greece mile to aandmile the and one-eighth, rotated 25ofdegrees saddling shed. Anyone and everyone could here get within the demand for boxes outstripped supply. “Society Throngs to Saratoga, it consisted of two rows of thickly-set Doric Course, and the following year bought out the vilified and slid westwards. The grandstand was lengthened, touching distance of the equine stars; no fences separated the Clubhouse at Spa; Stands Prove Inadequate for Crowds”, columns, heavily fluted and emphatically tapered which Walbaum. No sooner than the deal was done, public. ran athe New York Times headline on August 21, 1927. the floor increasing its The seating upheld capacity byabove. 50 per cent to 6,000, Queen Anne Clubhouse, while picturesque, was simply reborn Saratoga Association led by Whitney 1892 embarked and rotated to accord with the new track layout. To the Substantial sums were spent to create a garden idyll in the too small and in 1928 it was supplanted by a substantially From 1937 to 1945 the architectural character of the whole upon an immediate and momentous transformation of track environs. Trees were planted throughout and at the larger replacement which directly rear abuttedofthe grandstand. changed, with theshed appointment firm the clubhouse,complex a large saddling (250ofxarchitectural 72

the course. The buildings, backstretch and landscape

feet) was erected. Containing 25 stalls, it was here that

Paddock

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

vast lawn behind the clubhouse within the wider expanse

19

main entrance, a new gate created an im


the horses were saddled and paraded on rainy days until 1963. Akin to the spirit of the grandstand and clubhouse, it was a simple, timber-framed structure with an exposed, heavy timber truss frame which upheld a slate mansard roof. The saddling shed stood at the heart of the paddock, a vast lawn behind the clubhouse within the wider expanse of the Back Yard. The paddock was the site of the great Saratoga tradition that took place from the earliest days of the Saratoga Association - the saddling of the horse under the trees surrounded by the racetrack community of jockeys, grooms, trainers, owners, and clientele. The groupings of tall trees that populated the paddock served as informal stalls and exercise rings where the pre-race saddling ritual took place, unless of course rain drove it under the cover of the saddling shed. Anyone and everyone could here get within touching distance of the equine stars; no fences separated the public. Substantial sums were spent to create a garden idyll in the track environs. Trees were planted throughout and at the main entrance, a new gate created an impressive, well-groomed street frontage. ‘The track was always a beautiful sport,’ wrote the November 1902 edition of Munsey’s Magazine, ‘under the magic touch of its new owners it became a paradise.’ From the late 1920s, the frontside as Dutch Fred or Whitney would have known it changed considerably. It was a time of growing attendances at the Race Course, and the demand for boxes outstripped supply. “Society Throngs Clubhouse at Spa; Stands Prove Inadequate for Crowds”, ran a New York Times headline on August 21, 1927. The 1892 Queen Anne Clubhouse, while picturesque, was simply too small and in 1928 it was supplanted by a substantially larger replacement which directly abutted the grandstand. At three storys tall, the steel-framed clubhouse towered over the grandstand. Gone was the curving outline of the old clubhouse, this was a long, rectangular structure roofed by a simple slate mansard roof with a single finial at each end. It had none of the drama or imagination of the sloping planes of the Victorian structures. The building’s most distinctive feature was its western end, where architect Samuel Adams Clark had created an augustlooking porch, referred to as the “Landing Stage”. Bringing a touch of Ancient Greece to Saratoga, it consisted of two rows of thickly-set Doric columns, heavily fluted and emphatically tapered which upheld the floor above. From 1937 to 1945 the architectural character of the whole complex changed, with the appointment of architectural firm Marcus T. Reynolds as designers of two consecutive betting ring extensions to the rear of the grandstand and clubhouse. Reynolds was a leading Albany architect, creating some of the city’s greatest landmarks at a time when it was experiencing a golden

20

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

Present day Frontside

age. The two conjoined extensions ran the entire length of the grandstand-clubhouse complex, consisting of ground-floor betting space to accommodate the state-wide legalization of pari-mutuel machines in 1939 and an open terrace on the upper level. In sharp contrast to the dark wood and slate-roofed Victorian Grandstand and 1928 Clubhouse, the Reynolds addition made extensive use of metal roofs and ornamental white cast iron. The ground floor featured cast-iron panels imaginatively shaped into racing scenes and horse-head brackets; matching cast-iron grilles railed the terrace. The extensions were painted white, as were the rear and side elevations of the grandstand and clubhouse too. The distinctive design aesthetic of crisp white paint and ornamental iron work has been integral to Saratoga’s environment ever since and has been echoed in subsequent construction.


Compared to the substantial changes enacted at Belmont and Aqueduct, the advent of NYRA in 1955 had relatively little outward impact upon Saratoga’s physical fabric. In the mid1960s, however, a major transformation took place. Under direction of Los Angeles architecture firm Arthur Froehlich and Associates, the 1936 field stand and 1892 betting ring were demolished to make room for a new grandstand addition appended to the east end of the Victorian grandstand. The extension doubled the building’s size, yet it moved further away from Saratoga’s original nineteenth-century character.

separating the saddling ritual from the public. In the 1980s, the Back Yard was transformed into a recreation ground with picnic benches and television monitors. Probably the most dramatic addition was the building of the Carousel Pavilion (1985-91), a large semi-circular addition at the rear of the original grandstand to house food concessions, television monitors and seating. It mimicked the white horse-head brackets and metal roofs of the Reynolds’ era, yet in its quality of materials and subtlety of design it lacked sensitivity towards the track’s architectural heritage.

As the twentieth-century progressed, the acreage of the Frontside and Back Yard was not altered but modern demands engendered many new elements to the landscape and buildings. In 1977, a new steel-framed, canopycovered saddling shed was erected to the west property line,

Aside from its impeccable racing pedigree, Saratoga has a great architectural heritage. Its physical environment tells the story of changing architectural fashions, the evolution of the sport itself, and the vibrant personalities who have trod, owned and shaped these hallowed grounds.

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

21


Challenges for the Future

The story of New York Racing through much of the 20th century was one of innovation and competition that on most measures established the reputation of New York as the greatest racing association in the world. By the early 1900s, the consolidation of New York tracks was settling into a pattern that is familiar today, mainly as a result of the judicious application of capital. At the turn of the century, William C. Whitney’s transformation of Saratoga set a standard for that track that has endured for over a century. When August Belmont Jr. sought to build Belmont Park, his aim was to create the “greatest course in the history of the world.” The application of capital by Whitney and Belmont alongside the development of Aqueduct and Jamaica are the genesis of the reputation that New York Racing has earned over the long term. The decision of Fasig-Tipton Co. to hold a select yearling sale in Saratoga in 1917 was a confirmation of the pre-eminence Zev and Papyrus

22

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

of the Saratoga summer meet. In the 1920s Belmont Park entered the international sports picture through two dazzling displays of promotional imagination at variance with the usually staid practices of major racetracks of that era. On October 20, 1923, Zev, the year’s Kentucky Derby winner, met Papyrus, the Epsom Derby winner, in a $100,000 match race before 45,000 racing fans. It was the biggest crowd at a match race in 100 years. In 1924, sparked by the Zev-Papyrus meeting, was an even more audacious sporting proposition of a scope never before attempted. Pierre Wertheimer (whose family now owns the champion mare Goldikova) brought Epinard, the French three-year-old champion, to the US for three international races against America’s best, each at a different distance: International Special #1 at 6 furlongs, at Belmont on September 1, 1924; International Special #2 at one mile, at Aqueduct on September 27, 1924; and International Special #3 at 6 furlongs, at Latonia on October 11, 1924. Epinard finished second in all the races. This series captured the public imagination.


The reputation of New York Racing was so great during the 1920s that it led to the coinage of the term “The Big Apple.” The Big Apple was first popularized as a reference to New York City by John J. Fitz Gerald in numerous New York Morning Telegraph articles in reference to New York horse racing. The earliest of these was a casual reference on May 3, 1921: J P Smith with Tippity Witchet and others of the L T Bauer string, is scheduled to start for “the big apple” to-morrow after a most prosperous Spring campaign at Bowie and Havre de Grace. Fitz Gerald referred to “the big apple” frequently thereafter. He explained his use in a February 18, 1924, column under the headline “Around the Big Apple”: The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There’s only one Big Apple. That’s New York. Two dusky stable hands were leading a pair of thoroughbred around the “cooling rings” of adjoining stables at the fair Grounds in New Orleans and engaging in desultory conversation. “Where y’all goin’ from here?” queried one. “From here we’re headin’ for The Big Apple,” proudly replied the other. “Well, you’d better fatten up them skinners or all you’ll get from the apple will be the core”, was the quick rejoinder. The pre-war eminence of New York racing was threatened briefly after the war. There was increasing competition from Monmouth

Park and the Garden State Futurity was the richest race in the world. In 1953, when Native Dancer won the Travers, the total prize fund was $27,000, while the prize funds for the Arlington Classic and American Derby at Arlington Park and Washington Park in Chicago, were $154,000 and $112,000 respectively. A potential crisis was emerging stemming from a lack of coordination and organization of the New York tracks. In August 1953, a group of sportsmen and members of the New York Racing Commission gathered for a dinner at Saratoga. The Chairman of the Commission, Ashley Trimble Cole, informed the assembled gathering that if the industry did not act quickly, the State would take control of the problem. The industry moved quickly and on September 30, 1954, a committee of members of The Jockey Club consisting of John W. Hanes, Christopher T. Chenery and Harry F. Guggenheim, submitted a plan to the New York State Racing Commission for a completely new deal for the operation of thoroughbred racing in the State. A non-profit organization to be called the Greater New York Association would be formed. Belmont Park, Jamaica, Aqueduct, and Saratoga would be merged in to this association, which would buy the assets of each track. The following year, the Greater New York Association (the name was later changed to the present New York Racing Association) was incorporated. In October 1955, it acquired the four tracks for approximately $20,000,000 and was granted a mutuel betting franchise for 25 years. By 1956, the association announced its program for Capital Projects, which became known as “The Jockey Club Plan.” The report of the Committee is set out below:

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

23


Parade Ring, Ascot, Royal Ascot Meeting

The Jockey Club Plan resulted in the initial rebuilding of Aqueduct in 1959, the grandstand extension at Saratoga in 1965 and the rebuilding of Belmont Park by 1968. This exercise was the last overarching strategic approach to facilities for New York racing until this process currently being considered more than 55 years later. Since the principal elements of The Jockey Club Plan were completed and, in particular, since the creation of off-track betting corporations in New York State in the early 1970s, New York racing has been in a slow decline. The 1973 Marlboro Cup had the highest single day’s prize money and largest TV audience for any day’s racing anywhere in the world. Now NYRA does not have one of the 30 richest races in the world, crowds have declined and there has been little investment in facilities due to a lack of capital and ad-hoc franchise extensions. Other racecourses across the world can now claim to be the pre-eminent racing association, a title that for more than half a century belonged to NYRA on any measure. However, NYRA has retained some strength over this period of decline. Certain metrics demonstrate how NYRA is still a world force: 24

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

Flat Total Prize Money (2009)

Average Prize money per Race (2009)

NYRA

$115,880,999

$34,832

Saratoga

$26,247,600

$71,911

Great Britain

$117,631,498

$18,809

France

$153,987,829

$32,556

Ireland

$40,239,393

$38,992

Chantilly, Paris


Marlboro Cup, 1973

In 2012 this position will dramatically change as the VLT purse injection occurs for NYRA. This however, shows the scale of NYRA with its three racecourses compared to 60 in the UK.

This clearly demonstrates the scale and quality of racing in New York compared to other Racing Jurisdictions across the world.

Number of G1s in 2010 USA

Belmont

18

France

Longchamp

16

Australia

Randwick

16

USA

Saratoga

16

Australia

Flemington

13

USA

Hollywood

12

Hong Kong

Sha Tin

12

UK

Ascot

10

Australia

Caulfield

10

Ireland

Curragh

10

USA

Keeneland

10

UK

Newmarket

9

Australia

Rosehill

9

USA

Santa Anita

9

USA

Del Mar

8

South Africa

Kenilworth

8

Japan

Tokyo

8

South Africa

Turffontein

8

South Africa

Turffontein

8 Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

25


By comparison, Ireland in total has 12 Grade 1 races while Saratoga has 16. The whole UK system has 32, France 27, while NYRA has 38. All the points above concern quality. In terms of quality, NYRA still holds up in an ever more competitive world environment. The table below looks at tracks across the world that had at least nine G1 races in

2010. The ratings are calculated by looking at the individual ratings of the first four horses in the race with the average given the race rating. For example, the ratings below are the average of the nine best races at Belmont or Hollywood in 2010. This is the best method of considering the quality of New York racing in an international and US context:

World Racecourse Rating Best 9 Average 2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Belmont

120.36

Longchamp

120.31

Ascot

121.19

Longchamp

121.36

Ascot

120.92

Ascot

120.28

Longchamp

120.14

Ascot

119.39

Longchamp

120.08

Ascot

121.22

Longchamp

120.36

Longchamp

120.25

Ascot

119.67

Belmont

117.44

Belmont

118.58

Randwick

117.33

Randwick

120.22

Flemington

119.97

Saratoga

116.47

Newmarket

117.03

Flemington

117.28

Flemington

117.03

Flemington

120.03

Saratoga

117.81

Newmarket

116.14

Curragh

116.09

Newmarket

117.00

Newmarket

116.97

Saratoga

118.11

Newmarket

117.70

Flemington

115.03

Flemington

115.88

Curragh

116.70

Belmont

115.81

Belmont

117.78

Randwick

116.71

Curragh

114.33

Hollywood

115.44

Saratoga

116.11

Hollywood

114.81

Newmarket

117.67

Belmont

115.47

Caulfield

113.58

Randwick

115.44

Caulfield

115.25

Caulfield

114.78

Caulfield

117.53

Caulfield

114.56

Santa Anita

113.53

Saratoga

114.92

Hollywood

115.22

Saratoga

114.61

Hollywood

114.64

Curragh

114.18

Hollywood

113.28

Santa Anita

114.81

Randwick

114.50

Curragh

114.19

Curragh

113.37

Santa Anita

112.78

Randwick

112.97

Caulfield

114.31

Santa Anita

111.03

Santa Anita

113.85

Santa Anita

112.42

Hollywood

112.72

2005-2010 Average Ascot

Longchamp

Belmont

Flemington

Newmarket

Saratoga

Randwick

Caulfield

Curragh

Hollywood

Santa Anita

120.44

120.42

117.57

117.54

117.09

116.34

116.20

115.00

114.81

114.35

113.07

26

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Meydan, Dubai

This demonstrates the power of NYRA and the endurance of NYRA racing through 30 years of turbulent times. While NYRA has maintained the quality of its racing during this difficult period, however, there are still significant challenges that any capital projects strategy needs to address: 1. Globalization – in the 1920s, Belmont was the international focus of racing. Today the major arenas worldwide are not from the US, while tracks across the world have invested significantly to have the best horses. A strategy must respond to this challenge; 2. In the United States a declining industry over the long term has resulted in a significant under-investment in facilities in general and especially stark when compared to other sports. Other than the redevelopment of Arlington Park there has been no international standard new track built in the US for nearly 50 years. The health of the industry over the near and medium term is unlikely to result in substantial capital being committed. New York is therefore the pathfinder in revitalizing racetracks in the US for the next generations;

3. In New York State, the VLT monies are pivotal to the long-term health of the industry and the transformation of the industry to a self-sustaining basis. All three NYRA tracks -- clearly Aqueduct and Belmont and to a lesser extent Saratoga -- are pre-OTB structures, built to accommodate on-track betting. The VLTs are now to be applied not just to a post-on-track betting era but also a post-OTB era with all the attendant competition for other gambling and leisure entertainment. Any strategy therefore needs to look forward, alongside continually changing technology, to tracks that can sustain into the long term. While there are big picture issues, any development strategy to apply to VLT monies must have regard to long-term challenges so that New York Racing can sustain itself into the future. The Jockey Club Plan of 1956 has defined today’s facilities and any strategy that emerges is likely to be similarly defining for the future.

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

27


The VLT Monies and an Approach to Strategy

The introduction to this document explained that any Capital Plan for NYRA expressly relates to the application of the 4% of the VLT monies. These must be spent on capital projects, not on operations, expenses or purses. The objective, however, should be that the application of capital should make the NYRA facilities more attractive and more efficient, increasing revenue over time and reducing operating costs. At this early stage in the process, any available funding can only be a forecast pending the commencement of operation of the VLTs. The logical place to start is the headline figures that are likely to come forward. The contractual position allows for 4% of the win per machine to be diverted to capital projects. The most sensible approach is to use the current forecasts provided by Genting. While the introduction of the VLT machines is staggered, the full year forecast that is applicable to a long-term strategy would be: 5,000 machines for 363 days per year @ $380 win per machine: $689,700,000 @ 4% = $27,588,000 per annum By the time NYRA has completed any detailed design process and identified preferred projects, a long-term forecast will be based on nine months of actual data. An adjustment needs to be made in the short term to repay the loans that have been advanced to date by Genting. Under the agreement, NYRA has to repay the loans, half from the 4% capital contributions and half from the 3% operational payments. The impact on the early capital payments would therefore be as follows on a $380 win per machine level:

These numbers could change if the $380 figure is different when the VLTs commence operation. As these are annual payments, it is open to NYRA to spend the money as NYRA receives it year to year. Alternatively NYRA is allowed to capitalize the income by raising a bond. The current racing law allows NYRA to raise capital on a five-year basis.

2012

2013

2014

2015

4% level

$27.588

$27.588

$27.588

$27.588

Reduction due to loan

$5.173

$6.897

$2.947

$0

Forecast monies

$22.415

$20.691

$24.641

$27.588

28

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


This analysis demonstrates that NYRA will have significant sums to expend, but NYRA has faced an on-going conundrum since the award of the franchise. On the one hand, the NYRA facilities have suffered from 40 years of under-investment and there is urgency for capital to be applied. From the renewal of the franchise to this point, however, NYRA has not had sufficient free cash to analyze the feasibility of potential projects. For NYRA it has been a careful balancing act of trying to develop a strategy within significant financial constraints. Given this conundrum, NYRA has advanced as follows:

1. In 2008 NYRA appointed Turnberry Consulting to provide a broad overview of the options open to NYRA in relation to the application of capital. This exercise resulted in two general elements of advice: − NYRA should invest to optimize the quality of its racing as this is most likely to sustain NYRA over the short term, medium and long term; and − Any early focus for capital spend is most logically applied at Saratoga. 2. After this analysis and due to the staccato nature of the funding position and, in particular, the award of the VLT contract to Aqueduct, it was difficult to estimate the precise timing of any development. As a result there was limited further activity or analysis. Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

29


3. By the time of the NYRA Board of Directors meeting at Saratoga in 2010, a new VLT process was underway that appeared to have a greater prospect of delivering a VLT operation in a certain timescale. It was therefore appropriate to address, as a matter of principle, the priority of spend. A summary of the analysis presented to the August 2010 Saratoga Board Meeting is set out below: − With the proximity of Belmont and Aqueduct it is difficult to establish the long term picture for both at this stage; − However, it will also be difficult to analyze the long term future of Aqueduct until the VLTs are in operation; − In any event, Belmont Park is a single, 800,000-square-foot, 1960s building constructed for the pre-OTB era that requires significant feasibility to identify the most suitable scheme for the facility; − Any review of Belmont needs to facilitate average crowds of 6,500 but accommodate a 100,000 crowd for a Triple Crown race, a complex challenge; − If NYRA wanted to contemplate shutting Aqueduct, it is not possible to winter race at Belmont due to its north-facing grandstand, and at present NYRA is mandated to winter race under the Statute; − While the points above are complex, there is further uncertainty about potential VLTs being allocated at Belmont. 30

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

For these reasons, it is difficult to produce a value for money scheme at Belmont in the short term given the dynamic aspects and the size of the scheme. Moreover, if Belmont was preferred, substantial capital could not be spent quickly as the design process for this type of track will be three to four years prior to redevelopment. Since NYRA has a reducing franchise period there is a strong need for capital to be used quickly to increase revenue. The analysis implied that it would be prudent to wait until the VLTs were completed, establish the future of Aqueduct and then look at a long-term future for Belmont Park. Alongside this: a. Saratoga is NYRA’s most historic track with high annual maintenance costs due to its historic fabric and the complication of weather protection; b. Saratoga was not subject to the holistic approach in the ‘50s and ‘60s that was applied to Belmont Park and Aqueduct. The last fundamental Masterplan process was 110 years ago; c. The current facilities are fragile and need immediate attention to ensure no further deterioration; d. Unlike Belmont Park, Saratoga can be dealt with on a piecemeal basis; it does not need such a long planning lead-in to identify how to apply capital and there is much more flexibility in how to deal with projects.


The points set out above indicated a logic in focusing on Saratoga in the short term and then returning to Belmont and Aqueduct when the downstate environment was more stable and there was a clearer position of what a postAqueduct-VLT scheme would look like. 4. As a result of this analysis, NYRA committed some funding to analysis in 2011: − A backstretch study at Saratoga, Belmont Park and Aqueduct to establish the need for increases in capacity or improvements; − A frontside study of Saratoga to identify potential projects appropriate for the racecourse; − An exercise to establish what work might be required at Belmont Park in the medium term, also allowing for a potential Breeders’ Cup in 2012 or 2013; − Any work required at Aqueduct depending on any final decision regarding contributions by Genting to elements retained by NYRA; alongside − Continued support for the historic analysis being undertaken by the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation on the frontside and backstretch at Saratoga.

This work and analysis has been undertaken from January 2011 to July 2011 and forms the basis of the projects in this document. As mentioned earlier in this note, NYRA has had to maintain a careful balancing act of determining a broad strategy and set of ideas in order to be ready to commit VLT monies, without available resources to undertake detailed feasibility. This should be considered alongside the open approach of NYRA to share emerging ideas and views with stakeholders and the community before any decisions are made. The final issue to cover in any approach to strategy is that NYRA has sought to define a general direction of focus on Saratoga. Within that general direction, the design exercises have identified all the proposals that have emerged from a variety of sources that could be applicable to Saratoga. NYRA has not determined any order of priority, nor has reliable costs or business plan information on the relative performance of these projects. This is a function of early consultation and a lack of resources. However, it does provide the opportunity for comment and debate prior to a more rigorous analysis that will allow priorities then to be presented. The aim is to be in a position to present a fully analyzed prioritized plan to match the available funding by the summer of 2012. Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

31


Potential Projects

This section follows on from the approach to strategy. If NYRA is to identify the best projects to proceed with in 2012, it is essential to identify a broader range for testing and feasibility so that the most appropriate projects can be selected. In light of a strategy to concentrate on Saratoga as set out earlier in this note, the scope of projects is listed in this section. While the strategy previously identified that the focus of activity should be at Saratoga this does not mean that Aqueduct and Belmont will consume no capital. These are therefore considered first in this section, prior to considering Saratoga in more detail. Two other points of preamble include: − Across the three racetracks, NYRA has 14 racing surfaces. As part of any Capital Plan, there is no proposal for any radical work that does not emerge from a more substantive facilities plan. There will be maintenance requirements, but these will be part of any year-to-year program; − As part of any first year there will not be approved projects of significance. The money should therefore be directed to professional fees, backlog maintenance, and some other small projects. Taking these points into account, the three tracks are now considered in turn:


Aqueduct

New VLT Facility

Aqueduct Buffet

This is the most straightforward of the three tracks to consider, given the VLT works: 1. As part of the VLT construction schedule, it was necessary to relocate the horses currently stabled at Aqueduct to Belmont Park for a temporary period. During this period, repairs and improvement were made which should endure for the medium term. As part of the backstretch analysis, consideration was given to the implications of closing Aqueduct to training and relocating training permanently to Belmont Park. This would have an initial capital cost but a significant

34

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

Current Construction

recurring revenue saving. While further barns could be provided at Belmont, it does not have the track capacity to train the horses. At Belmont in the winter the training track can cope with up to 1,800 horses through intensive use and training starting as early as 5.30am under lights. It is not possible to accommodate further horses without an increase in track capacity and a costeffective solution to increase track capacity is not achievable. For the medium term, while there is racing at Aqueduct, there will need to be training at Aqueduct.


Festival Commons – Trackside Apron

Food Court Construction

Food Court Construction

2. The second area of relevance relates to works undertaken by Genting or by NYRA as part of the VLT construction project. These include the following:

− There are discussions on-going regarding some other structural work such as the escalators. This will result in significant upgrades in some areas.

− The Brooklyn Water Works project; − The entire building will receive new air conditioning other than those spaces that were not air conditioned before Genting started work; − There will be some upgrades to administrative space and mutuels;

3. Allowing for the position regarding the backstretch and the work already completed or to be completed as part of the VLT process, the next issue to address is what further work should be contemplated over the next few years to ensure revenue from Aqueduct is maximized. This will be considered over the next year.

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

35


Belmont Park

This paper has already set out rationale for attending to Saratoga as a priority and then returning to Belmont Park. Notwithstanding this, there are four areas that need consideration as part of any plan: 1. Belmont backstretch – There is an argument that the priority for backstretch improvements is more significant at Belmont than at Saratoga as it is a year-around track rather than just a summer track. However, the counterpoint is that the barns are generally in better condition, have been subject to a more recent maintenance program, and any long-term redevelopment of Belmont could be radical. It could prove short-sighted to invest in the Belmont backstretch if track or other improvements are subsequently impacted. In the short term the Belmont barns are to be subject to maintenance only. This should be a focus in any Year 1 Plan. 2. Belmont backstretch housing – This is identified as a separate element that was mentioned earlier in the funding section. Since Belmont backstretch workers live more than nine months a year at Belmont, they can qualify for permanent residency and the types of programs that are available for low-income housing. NYRA has engaged 36

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

the Long Island Housing Partnership (LIHP) which is a not-for-profit organization that specializes in low-income housing. LIHP has had a number of discussions with funders and state agencies to establish if it is possible to use access to very low funding costs or bonds to construct this type of facility with the cost met by the income from the building. This assumes that NYRA would start charging for housing on a Palm Meadows model which NYRA currently does not do. This is a slightly unusual project but LIHP thinks it is potentially deliverable – this should be studied carefully if it can augment overall NYRA funding. While LIHP indicates funding may be available, this would still be an unusual process for external assistance compared to the projects they usually consider. It may be preferable, therefore, to undertake an early Belmont backstretch housing building which could demonstrate the standard NYRA seeks. 3. Belmont Frontside – With a short term focus on Saratoga it will be necessary for NYRA to allocate money to undertake some works to the Belmont grandstand. Some


of this would be required in any event together with works needed to accommodate the Breeders’ Cup if it comes to Belmont in the next few years. These would include: − Air conditioning to the Clubhouse; − Some modest backyard improvements; and − The main dining improvements required by a successful award of the Breeders’ Cup.

− Will any new scheme align with a long-term future for Aqueduct and the transfer of winter racing to Belmont? This cannot occur at present; − If there is a fundamental redevelopment, will NYRA continue with a 1½ mile track? − What scale of crowd capacity should any new scheme incorporate to accommodate a future racing program? and; − Will there be collateral development (non-racing) that may augment or hinder the racing position over the long term?

4. Belmont feasibility – Given the points made earlier about the uncertainty over any potential scheme for Belmont, there is an argument to do nothing regarding any long term plan for Belmont until Aqueduct has been operating for a while and the political position is clearer. However, this has a potential danger of other decisions being made about uses of land and Belmont and NYRA then needing to fit a scheme into it.

Depending on how these questions are addressed as a matter of principle, will depend on a scheme that will be developed through any feasibility. The issue of resolving the winter racing point is itself complex. It may be prudent to advance steadily and allocate funding to a major feasibility study in principle but then judge, as events develop, how best to move forward. On this basis a logical approach could be:

The counter-argument to the do-nothing approach, is for NYRA to develop a plan in concept for the future of Belmont that sustains New York racing over the long term. For any concept plan to be developed there are some fundamental issues that need to be considered. Four particular issues are paramount:

− Between October 2011 and August 2012, develop brief for Belmont feasibility study; − If circumstances allow, undertake feasibility study 2012/13; − If there are clear options or an option, develop concept design. Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

37


Saratoga

Given the approach outlined earlier in this note, the objective for Saratoga must be to achieve three objectives: − Secure the historic nature of Saratoga and use the history to drive the Saratoga brand over the long term; − Add further capacity and facilities to widen the offerings and enhance revenue; − Improve maintenance and operating costs for what is a very inefficient racecourse to operate. If these can be achieved via an appropriate program in the first few years of VLT monies, this would have short-, medium- and long-term financial benefits to New York racing and ensure the stewardship with which NYRA has been entrusted. Taking these guiding points into account, the most appropriate place to start is the backstretch.

38

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

a) Backstretch – NYRA could easily spend very significant sums returning the backstretch to its original state. This is unrealistic. However, there are a number of areas that will make a significant financial impact and protect the asset. The backstretch is very complex to analyze as there wide ranging options. The main objectives are: i. To stabilize the existing barns and structures where needed; ii. To add 200 new stalls net (or 250 removing reliance on the Harness Track) which should increase the horse population and field size: iii. Replace or refurbish all the dormitories on site with new build or refurbishment; iv. Improve generally the utilities, landscape, equine landscape areas and separation of vehicles and horses; v. Provide a new spine and entrance through Oklahoma with new public viewing and horsemen’s viewing stand and relocate main office and workshops. In addition, create a new spine through the backstretch on the South side;


vi. Better secure the boundaries to the site; vii.Restore the relevant historic assets; and viii.Provide better social and community facilities for backstretch workers. As mentioned earlier in this paper it is not proposed at this time to commit to any projects to deliver these objectives. The purpose is to identify which projects should be considered over the next year and then determine which areas are the best to take forward. b) Frontside - While the backstretch is complex with a multitude of options to identify 200 extra stalls, the frontside is more constrained. The property boundary and the location and structure of the historic buildings limit the potential for radical options. As with the backstretch, the frontside options that have been generated follow a series of themes:

− A production kitchen outside the main building complex to simplify catering in the buildings, potentially at Nelson Avenue; − A new permanent “At the Rail” building replacing the current temporary buildings; − General Clubhouse refurbishment; − Grandstand refurbishment and new Carousel, but in the existing location; − A new building at the Top of the Stretch; − Winner’s Circle and apron improvement; − Refurbishment and re-use of the old saddling shed; − New paddock and Jockey House;

i. Protect and enhance the historic features; ii. Enhance the arrival experience and backyard; iii. Improve the experience of viewing the horse and paddock; iv. Create new hospitality and revenue-generating areas to increase the range of offerings for patrons.

− Re-use of existing Jockey House for patron purposes; − New Lincoln Entrance; − Entrance improvements including handicapped access; − Backyard improvement and upgrade; and

As with the backstretch at this point, there is no priority to these projects, however, a series of options emerges when considering the objectives above. Those to be considered should include:

− A Backyard extension. All the projects are set out in the ensuing pages.

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

39


Backstretch Potential Plan

40

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Horse Haven West

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

41


Potato Chip Lane

42

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Oklahoma Annex

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

43


New Small Barn

New Large Barn

44

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Dorm to Barn Conversion

Dorm Refurbishment

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

45


New Dorm Options

Alternative

Alternative

46

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Clockers Stand Oklahoma

New Public Stand Oklahoma

Clockers Stand Main Track

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

47


Illustrative Plan

48

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

49


Development Zone A

14.  Backyard  Expansion  

11.  Lincoln  Entrance  

13.  East  Avenue  Entrance  

15.  Backyard  Open  Spaces  

6.  Saddling  Shed  

8.  Paddock  

9.  Jockey  House  /  Exec  Admin  

10.  Wright  Street  Entrance  

12.  Grandstand  Garden  

2.  Nelson  Prod  /  Service  Yard  

3.  Clubhouse   1.  At  The  Rail  

50

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

5.  Apron  

4.  Grandstand  /  Carousel  

7.  Top  of  The  Stretch  


Nelson Production / Sevice Yard

2.  Nelson  Prod  /  Service  Yard  

Nelson Avenue Main Production Kitchen / Service Yard / Administration (Level 2) / Broadcasting Area

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

51


At the Rail

1.  At  The  Rail  

At the Rail Building: Site Plan

52

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


At the Rail Building: Section

At the Rail Building: Artist’s Impression

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

53


Clubhouse

3.  Clubhouse  

Clubhouse Site Entry

54

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Clubhouse Upper Level Plan

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

55


Grandstand

4.  Grandstand  /  Carousel  

Grandstand / Carousel: Ground Floor

56

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Carousel Section

Grandstand / Carousel: Level 2

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

57


Apron

5.  Apron  

Apron Winner’s Enclosure: Site Plan

58

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Apron Section

1902 Apron Stair

Existing Apron Stair

1970s Apron Stair

Proposed Apron Stair

Proposed Apron Stair Boxes

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

59


Saddling Shed

6.  Saddling  Shed  

Historic Saddling Shed: Plan

60

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Historic Saddling Shed: Section at Champagne Bar

Historic Saddling Shed: Elevation

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

61


Top of the Stretch

7.  Top  of  The  Stretch  

Top of the Stretch: Section

62

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Top of the Stretch: Lower Level

Top of the Stretch: Level 2

Top of the Stretch: Level 3

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

63


Paddock

Paddock: New Jockey House, Saddling Boxes, Horse Paths, Walking Circle etc

New Jockey House / Saddling Boxes: Artist’s impression from the historic Saddling Shed

64

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


New Jockey House / Saddling Boxes: Ground Level / Level 2 Plans

New Jockey House / Saddling Boxes: Section

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

65


Jockey House

9.  Jockey  House  /  Exec  Admin  

Optional space

Optional space

66

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Wright Street Entrance

10.  Wright  Street  Entrance  

Wright Street Entrance: Site Plan

Wright  Street   Entrance  

Horse  Path  to  Paddock  

Landscape  and  Hardscape   Improvements  

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

67


Lincoln Entrance

11.  Lincoln  Entrance  

Lincoln Entrance: Plan

68

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Grandstand Garden

12.  Grandstand  Garden  

Grandstand Garden: Plan

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

69


East Avenue Entrance

13.  East  Avenue  Entrance  

East Avenue Entrance: Site Plan

70

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Backyard Expansion

14.  Backyard  Expansion  

Backyard Expansion: Site Plan 5.14.b  ‘Backyard  Expansion’  Concept  Design  Proposals      

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

71


Frontside Current View

Potential Perspective

72

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects


Public Consultation and Next Steps NYRA has tried to advance as far as possible a plan for the future of the various facilities to allow for an orderly spend of the capital project monies. NYRA has set out the range of projects that could be contemplated as part of any first phase. NYRA will consider carefully all the comments that it receives in response to this consultation and will then determine where to focus the further feasibility work later this year and in 2012. During 2012 NYRA will be able to analyze the actual VLT funding, undertake design and costing and arrive at a robust plan for the first projects. NYRA will continue to consult through this process and obtain views as appropriate.

Capital Projects Development Strategy Potential Projects

73



NYRA Capital Projects informational brochure