In a budget vote Wednesday, the New York Racing Authority Board approved a $2 hike for gate admission and a $3 increase for clubhouse admission. YNN's Geoff Redick has more.
SARATOGA SPRIGNS, N.Y. -- Horse racing fans will pay more for their annual sprint through the Saratoga Race Course gates next year. General admission at the track is going up, from $3 to $5. Clubhouse admission is rising from $5 to $8.
The New York Racing Authority Board of Directors passed the price hike Wednesday as part of its 2014 budget. This comes on the heels of a $10 million budget gap for the Racing Authority in 2013. It's a gap the state wants to see closed without using extra revenue from slot machines.
"The cost overhead of the Racing Authority, for years, has been known to be pretty inflated," observed racing enthusiast Dale Ordes, during his visit to the National Museum of Racing on Wednesday afternoon.
Ordes told YNN he believes there are cuts to be made within NYRA, but also says even the casual race fan can and should pay a $5 admission.
"If that picnic ground crowd is not paying its freight, either you have to raise the admission price for that, charge for the tables or do something else," Ordes said. "Because that's an expense that's hitting the bottom line!"
But NYRA's own Saratoga liaison, John Hendrickson, told YNN he does not support the price hike. Hendrickson does not believe NYRA should balance its budget on the backs of its patrons. Rather, he'd like to see cuts from the inside first.
Meanwhile in downtown Saratoga Springs, "Hatsational!" store owner Joyce Locks doesn't care why or how track admission is going up. She is not worried that it will keep anyone away from the track.
"It's just a great place," Locks said. "For $5, if it makes the ends meet, then that's good. It'll keep racing going and that's what we want."
The NYRA board plans to research the admission hike in coming months, intending to implement it at the start of next racing season.