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NYRA aims to better connect with Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The New York Racing Association changed the venue where it selects post positions for the 145th Travers Stakes. On Tuesday, it hosted an invitation-only event at Druthers Brewing Company downtown.

“We wanted to make this a community celebration and we wanted to move the Travers draw out of the track and into the heart of Saratoga Springs, right into the community,” said John Durso, Jr, Director of Communications for NYRA. “We’re looking to expand. You've seen additional purse money that's been put into our races, we've brought in horses from around the country that compete against the best right here.”

Earlier this year, NYRA said it would work to make the Travers and Whitney into destination events to help increase attendance and draw people downtown. 

“The numbers are great. Up and down the street [Broadway] I know that the other shop owners, restaurant owners, everyone is reporting they're having a great summer. People have really come out,” said Chris Martell, co-owner of Druthers.

The Travers event was the first time since Druthers opened two years ago it closed for a private event.  Martell said it was a difficult decision, but they wanted to be part of the Travers anticipation.

“To tell them [customers] that we're going to be closed for four hours on a Tuesday night is a tough thing and a tough sell, but this was something we thought was so important to bring it downtown and get some excitement around racing,” said Martell. “As someone who has grown up in this area and gone to the Travers and waited up all night to get picnic tables the next day, it was a real honor. We were really thrilled.”
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