Saratoga County

Track seat applications go out

Reserved seat lottery applications for this summer’s Saratoga thoroughbred horse racing meet are fin

Reserved seat lottery applications for this summer’s Saratoga thoroughbred horse racing meet are finally being mailed.

The New York Racing Association usually sends out the seat lottery applications in October but uncertainty about the racing franchise delayed this decades-old fall tradition.

“We are in the process of stuffing envelopes right now,” said Jerry Davis, NYRA’s admissions and parking director, on Friday.

The state Legislature and NYRA, after months of negotiations, agreed this week on a new franchise that entitles NYRA to operate the thoroughbred horse racing tracks at Saratoga, Aqueduct and Belmont Park for the next 25 years.

This year’s 36-day Saratoga racing meet starts July 23 and ends Sept. 1.

Davis said 6,500 reserved seat lottery applications will be sent out over the next week to racing patrons who had reserved seats during the 2007 meet at the Saratoga Race Course.

There are 2,300 clubhouse seats and 4,300 grandstand seats that can be reserved but not all of these reserved seats are part of the annual lottery.

For example, Davis said, 1,500 clubhouse seats are designated advanced reservation seats for people who have been reserving these seats on an annual basis for years. Another 200 clubhouse seats are part of NYRA’s VIP program in which a patron purchases four clubhouse seats for the entire season, with free parking, admission, and Post Parade programs, for $5,000 or $2,750 for two seats for the entire season. These seats are all in Section D.

So the bulk of the lottery applications are for the grandstand reserved seats.

Davis said applications for reserved seats for 16,500 people are generally sought by racing fans.

This is where the lottery comes in. When a patron fills out a lottery application for one or, usually, more than one reserved seat, those seeking at least four seats for every day of the racing meet are in one category, while those seeking one or more seats for a minimum of six consecutive days of racing go into a second lottery category. All other reserved seating request go into the third category.

All lottery applications have to be returned to NYRA by March 21 (postmarked that day or earlier). The drawing will be held on March 21 or soon after that date.

The applications must include a check or money order paying for the seats. If the person’s lottery number is not picked, the money will be returned, Davis said.

The admission prices for the 2008 racing meet are the same as the 2007 meet, according to NYRA. General admission is still $3 and clubhouse admission remains at $5.

Cost of reserved seats in the clubhouse is $10 for Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and $15 for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. There is no racing on Tuesdays.

Reserved grandstand seats cost $6 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and $8 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

On Travers Stakes day, Aug. 23, the reserved seats increase to $25 for clubhouse seats and $18 for the reserved grandstand seats.

Unsold seat tickets and grandstand seats held for the current racing day (750 of these) go on sale each racing day at 8 a.m. at the reserved seat booth located at Gate A on Union Avenue. These tickets are also available the night before the racing day until 9 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on South Broadway in Saratoga Springs.

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