How did NYRA do at Belmont this year?

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Della
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:18 pm

Curious to hear how other folks experienced their Belmont day. The quality of the racing was superb - just about as good as most Breeders Cups.

I got there really early - 8:00AM - so parking and security went really smoothly once they got started.

I sat on the third level of the grandstand opposite the 1/16th post - a great seat. Way too many drunk frat boys sitting in seats they hadn't paid for, and then the long suffering ushers - who were really great - had to keep chasing them out. The back yard looked like the end of civilization when I left. Can't imagine what that was like during the day.

Restroom lines were fine except right at the end of the day, but still not bad. (Thanks, Tessablue, for your tip about the 3rd floor restrooms!)

The public address sound levels were problematic. Either too loud - Any Serling just about threw a fit - or crackly. I brought my own food and drink so can't comment on the food lines, etc. The music acts on the stage were weird - or maybe I just didn't get them.

Getting out of the parking lot was the usual nightmare. NYRA really needs to figure a better system.
Somnambulist
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:29 pm

The can't figure a better parking situation unless they figure out New York traffic.. which is probably out of anyone's pay grade. Hemsptead Turnpike is a horror show every day of the week and so is the Cross Island. They encourage people to stick around for later races and schedule the concerts. The $40 parking is a deterrent and they schedule 3x as many trains going to/from Belmont on the day. I'm not sure what else they can really do with this honestly outside of allow less people. Maybe in the future they could offer a small voucher for a ride share to prevent people who live in the immediate area from driving.

When Belmont was built, like everything else on Long Island, it was not built expecting the amount of people who now live here.

The only thing in my opinion that they really need to figure out is the drunk person situation. We had a nice rapport going with a bartender in backyard at a Woodford Reserve truck so we went back a few times and it was awful. By 11:30 people were too drunk to walk. That's not NYRA's problem per se... people will get wasted anywhere. I'm remembering stepping over drunk people at Del Mar at the Pac Classic once. I just wonder if they could stick them somewhere. I felt like I was at Boardy Barn.

I have no idea what the event insurance on this event must have cost.

I think they're aware of all of this though, honestly. They'll be renovating it when the Islanders stadium goes up.
"Life's no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe's my own to fool with."
thinair
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:37 pm

Della wrote: Either too loud - Andy Serling just about threw a fit .

I hardly threw a fit....or maybe you should see me throw a fit sometime for some comparison:-)

I am not throwing anyone under the bus about the PA issues when we first started the show, and it doesn't matter, but obviously when we first came on the air at 9:50 it was WAY too high. It also got corrected very quickly. The problem was that not only could I not hear Gabby, but I also couldn't hear myself. It was a little disconcerting:-)
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Della
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:21 pm

thinair wrote:
Della wrote: Either too loud - Andy Serling just about threw a fit .

I hardly threw a fit....or maybe you should see me throw a fit sometime for some comparison:-)

I am not throwing anyone under the bus about the PA issues when we first started the show, and it doesn't matter, but obviously when we first came on the air at 9:50 it was WAY too high. It also got corrected very quickly. The problem was that not only could I not hear Gabby, but I also couldn't hear myself. It was a little disconcerting:-)

You handled a difficult broadcasting situation well. You were on air, and had no other choice at that moment other than to call their attention to it. I enjoyed your analysis of the day's racing, and learned a lot. The good spirited give-and-take between you and Gabby was respectful, professional and fun. Thank so much for all your insights shared here too.
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Treve
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:37 pm

Somnambulist wrote: The only thing in my opinion that they really need to figure out is the drunk person situation. We had a nice rapport going with a bartender in backyard at a Woodford Reserve truck so we went back a few times and it was awful. By 11:30 people were too drunk to walk. That's not NYRA's problem per se... people will get wasted anywhere. I'm remembering stepping over drunk people at Del Mar at the Pac Classic once. I just wonder if they could stick them somewhere. I felt like I was at Boardy Barn.

I have no idea what the event insurance on this event must have cost.

I think they're aware of all of this though, honestly. They'll be renovating it when the Islanders stadium goes up.
What's the laws like in New York regarding bartender liability and the common culture about proceedings? In Ontario bartenders get fined and even jail time if someone gets too wasted and they let them drive home or otherwise get so intoxicated they break laws or cause trouble. They're expected to cut a client off when they start getting too drunk, or to give them water instead.
In Quebec there's no legal obligation but as bartenders we are expected to control people's alcohol intake and cut them off when appropriate. Not everyone in the industry is ethical about it though and they only care about sales, but in principle they should be responsible. I guess the only other thing I imagine NYRA could do is encourage the different locations where alcohol is served (if it's not their direct responsibility like I imagine the Woodford Reserve truck isn't) to hire a 'doorman' type security to help manage drunkyards and recommend they be escorted out of necessary. (I'm making assumptions that there weren't such bouncer/doorman types at every alcohol sales point)
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
Somnambulist
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:48 pm

My former bartender boyfriend says "immediate cut off" if someone is too drunk. I think that's hard for people to do though.. people pre-game on the train/the rides in and friends can buy for them.

I just wonder if they could dump all these party only people somewhere like the other two legs do the infield. That would be difficult given the two ponds in Belmont's infield.
"Life's no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe's my own to fool with."
stark
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:52 pm

Somnambulist wrote:My former bartender boyfriend says "immediate cut off" if someone is too drunk. I think that's hard for people to do though.. people pre-game on the train/the rides in and friends can buy for them.

I just wonder if they could dump all these party only people somewhere like the other two legs do the infield. That would be difficult given the two ponds in Belmont's infield.
Based on pictures from the Preakness most every year, the two ponds shouldn't present any problems.
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
Tessablue
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:53 pm

The good:
-getting in was so much easier than it has been in the past, seemed like there was a new security pattern and it worked really well
-the food truck village is a fantastic idea that has immeasurably improved my quality of life at the event. Lots of options, decent quick food, and added restrooms... major kudos to whomever came up with that.
-the ushers were wonderful at policing the seats, there were a lot of seat stealers and bros with gross cigars but the ushers really kept things under control despite the difficulties.
-the racing was as good as it gets and even with the added performances there was still a good amount of focus on the horses between and before the races.

The bad:
-as noted, there's a serious drinking problem at this event and I'm pretty sure it's getting worse every year. I know it's a big source of income, but at other sporting events alcohol is only available during certain times and I think that would help a lot here. The crowd was as a whole very unpleasant and the number of college kids I saw passed out on the floor by the end was waaay too high.
-getting out of the parking lot wouldn't have been so bad if they hadn't prevented us from leaving through the side gate that puts you right on the Hempstead going north. Instead, we were forced to go south, turn around, then crawl our way north. It took literally 75 minutes to get out of the parking lot then get back to the track going in the correct direction. It's never going to be great, but it was tolerable in the past when we were allowed to directly go north.
-my nemesis: the NYRA bets performance tent. Last year we sat behind it and couldn't see the track. This year we were in a section to the left of it and it still blocked a lot of our view. Basically couldn't see the post parades at all and had to watch most of the finishes on the screen. I think having a concert that encourages people to stay late is a great idea, but it's disheartening that it diminishes the experience for racing fans.

The ugly:
-if there was an emergency and people had to leave in the track in a hurry, we would all die. Funneling thousands of people basically single-file through narrow security gates into a small fenced-off area is a recipe for disaster. It was like that the past two years as well and it badly needs to be addressed.

For another perspective, I brought my husband to Belmont for the first time (he's not a racing fan, but he likes learning about it and he's been to Suffolk and Saratoga plenty of times) and his takeaway was: he was glad he went because it was a really unique experience and the races were great, he loved the crowd noise during the Belmont, but he was disappointed in how the race actually played out and he strongly disliked all the drunken jerks in the crowd.
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Treve
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:56 pm

I'm guessing those ponds aren't very deep. But maybe the insurance would cost more?
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
Somnambulist
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:01 pm

stark wrote:
Somnambulist wrote:My former bartender boyfriend says "immediate cut off" if someone is too drunk. I think that's hard for people to do though.. people pre-game on the train/the rides in and friends can buy for them.

I just wonder if they could dump all these party only people somewhere like the other two legs do the infield. That would be difficult given the two ponds in Belmont's infield.
Based on pictures from the Preakness most every year, the two ponds shouldn't present any problems.
I work in insurance and sadly view everything in terms of potential liability. They are both pretty big ones. I am honestly not sure what type of policy NYRA has in place (that would actually be interesting to know) but I think people would stagger to know how much this all cost them just to cover. The people getting hammered in the back do not care about the race. I wonder if they could stick them along the final turn and just schedule some dj's. I know at least two that would be interested.

I know a few people who went for the first time ever and they have an amazing time so hopefully some fans were born.

TB... I feel you on the if something bad happened. I feel that way about a lot of things but I guess that is life these days. I used to think that daily commuting into Penn Station. The NYPD was all over the place yesterday and I didn't feel unsafe in the moment. It's no different than me going to Yankee Stadium, Citifield or to Metlife.
"Life's no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe's my own to fool with."
Tessablue
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:10 pm

Yeah, I didn't feel unsafe at all but it's hard not to think about it, and ending the day being slowly crushed and separated from my group by a bunch of drunk bros was really unpleasant. Hate to leave the track feeling like that when so much of the rest of the day was fantastic.

I don't know if my husband will go back because it was a loooong day even for us hardcore fans (left at 7am, got home around 1:30am), but I noted how many people in the (largely non-racing) crowd were genuinely excited for the Belmont and thrilled by the result. I previously wondered if having two Triple Crowns in fairly quick succession would dull the crowd a little, and it wasn't quite the frenzy that 2015 was (how could it have been?), but I came away convinced that these TC attempts are good for racing as a whole. Lots of people talking about how excited they were that they got to witness it, and I suspect they'll go home and tell their friends to attend the next one.

Another note: saw a lot of people my age and younger using the betting machines instead of tellers. Not surprising at all and hopefully it's something that has been noted by the track.
Somnambulist
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:17 pm

I don't know if it's easier for you, but you could always take the ferry out of CT and stay on the North Shore of of Long Island for the weekend. There is a port at Port Jeff and the Eastern North Fork is really lovely this time of year (wineries, beaches, extremely charming and quaint New-England style towns) that would probably make your commute a lot better. It would be a longer ride into Belmont but going East after this event is a lot easier.

Stony Brook University is right there. Just expense it. :twisted:
Last edited by Somnambulist on Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Life's no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe's my own to fool with."
stark
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:18 pm

Tessablue wrote: Another note: saw a lot of people my age and younger using the betting machines instead of tellers. Not surprising at all and hopefully it's something that has been noted by the track.
The union probably has a pretty strong word for how many self serve terminals are allowed.
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
Tessablue
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:25 pm

Somnambulist wrote:I don't know if it's easier for you, but you could always take the ferry out of CT and stay on the North Shore of of Long Island for the weekend. There is a port at Port Jeff and the Eastern North Fork is really lovely this time of year (wineries, beaches, extremely charming and quaint New-England style towns) that would probably make your commute a lot better.

Stony Brook University is right there. Just expense it. :twisted:
That does sound really nice! We haven't done it in a single day since 2003, it just happened this year because we couldn't find a reliable dogsitter for Friday night. But typically we stay in Queens and it's still pretty brutal, especially going home afterwards as the post time for the race keeps creeping later and later. Will definitely look into it for next year. Thanks!

Forgot to add this earlier, but speaking of things that get people excited about the sport... Gronkowski running second (in improbable and exciting fashion, too) was a pretty big boon. Have seen a lot of people talking about it online today, and there was plenty of talk at Suffolk today, though that isn't exactly surprising ;)
stark
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:29 pm

Tessablue wrote: Forgot to add this earlier, but speaking of things that get people excited about the sport... Gronkowski running second (in improbable and exciting fashion, too) was a pretty big boon. Have seen a lot of people talking about it online today, and there was plenty of talk at Suffolk today, though that isn't exactly surprising ;)
Thank God for Justify, not sure how American racing would've explained a win by him, how weak was that crop?
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
WaquoitNBroadBrush
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:59 pm

stark wrote:
Tessablue wrote: Another note: saw a lot of people my age and younger using the betting machines instead of tellers. Not surprising at all and hopefully it's something that has been noted by the track.
The union probably has a pretty strong word for how many self serve terminals are allowed.
Are machines that take bills allowed at Belmont, or is it the same situation as at Saratoga, where the union won't allow the machines to take anything but vouchers and winning tickets, meaning at least one transaction -- and line to stand in -- more than the customer would normally make? Is aggravating customers a necessary evil to be tolerated in the name of saving jobs, even in an industry known for DMV-level customer service as it is?
WaquoitNBroadBrush
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:02 pm

stark wrote:
Tessablue wrote: Forgot to add this earlier, but speaking of things that get people excited about the sport... Gronkowski running second (in improbable and exciting fashion, too) was a pretty big boon. Have seen a lot of people talking about it online today, and there was plenty of talk at Suffolk today, though that isn't exactly surprising ;)
Thank God for Justify, not sure how American racing would've explained a win by him, how weak was that crop?
Those horses who handed Gronk his butt at Newbury and Newmarket are snickering in their stalls right now. I wonder if the owners of the horses he beat at Newcastle and Kempton are now dreaming of dirt glory in America!
thinair
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:42 pm

Distance and dirt, two things he had never dealt with, obviously moved up Gronkowski. Surprising? Yes, but hardly impossible. It's not as though Chad Brown wasn't effusive in his praise for how he was working.
stark
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:44 pm

thinair wrote:It's not as though Chad Brown wasn't effusive in his praise for how he was working.
As was every other trainer with regards to their horse before the race.
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
Tessablue
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:57 pm

Yeah I don't understand the shade; Gronkowski was genuinely good yesterday. It wasn't as big a surprise as it would have been at the start of the day because the horse he's been handily outworking ran a pretty good second on the undercard and he looked just incredible in the post parade. Looking forward to seeing where Brown sends him next, and I kind of wonder how he would have liked that hot pace in the Derby.
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