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NYRA board votes for admission hike at Saratoga Racecourse

The Board of directors at the New York Racing Association voted late Wednesday afternoon to approve a  2014 budget that includes admission price hikes at the Saratoga Racecourse and at Belmont. At Saratoga, general admission will go from three dollars to five dollars; clubhouse admission goes from five to eight dollars.

NYRA President Christopher Kay said plans include the addition of hundreds of flat-screen and high-definition televisions in the back yard and the clubhouse - part of the "enhanced experience" he says customers can expect in exchange for the higher admission. Kay said the 2014 budget would leave NYRA in the black by a quarter-million dollars, as opposed to the $10.5 million deficit it has at the end of 2013.

Some board members expressed opposition to the increases. Earl Mack said he thought the increase was being proposed "willy-nilly", and suggested management look into the possibility of at least doing without any increase at Belmont. Some suggested the increases might be reversed later.

Kay said NYRA is doing other things to balance the budget, including choosing new vendors in some cases. He said that during the race season in Saratoga Springs, hotels and restaurants routinely raise prices significantly - and consumers do not necessarily stay away. He said a day at the races is still a better value than a movie or a professional sports event.

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