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New NYRA policy limits number of vouchers for giveaways

New NYRA policy limits number of vouchers for giveaways

Giveaway days are a tradition at Saratoga Race Course. So is spinning — paying multiple admissions o
New NYRA policy limits number of vouchers for giveaways
5 year old Tommy Greiner, of Saratoga Springs, gets his bobblehead of Fourstardave at the Saratoga Race Course Giveaway day. Greiner reminded his parents that Sunday was the special bobblehead giveaway.
Photographer: Stacey Lauren-Kennedy

2014 Saratoga Race Course Giveaway Schedule

Sunday, July 20: Baseball cap

Sunday, July 27: Pilsner glass

Sunday, Aug. 10: Tote bag

Sunday, Aug. 31: T-shirt

Giveaway days are a tradition at Saratoga Race Course. So is spinning — paying multiple admissions on those days in order to walk away with armfuls of promotional items.

The New York Racing Association this season is making it harder for spinners to horde the limited supply of collectibles, implementing a new policy that limits the number of vouchers that can be purchased or redeemed at a given time.

Fans get vouchers at the gate and then have to turn them in to collect the day’s giveaway. NYRA is calling the new policy a matter of fairness, stating it has run out of items on past giveaway days.

“The reality is that these changes, these modifications are being made to provide our guests a more equitable process and give a greater chance for our guests to come home with one of these giveaways,” NYRA spokesman John Durso Jr. said Tuesday. “Last year we had numerous reports, and we witnessed, guests that were arriving at 11 o’clock, leaving shortly thereafter, wearing 10 hats at a time or having armfuls of giveaway items.

“Before the first race, those mementos were sold on eBay. That is not fair. That is not fair to our guests. That is not fair to the community.”

There are limited supplies of each promotional item on giveaway days.

Under the new policy, those attending on giveaway days will receive one voucher with paid admission upon entry to the track, the same as in past years. This voucher can be redeemed for a giveaway, while supplies last.

The difference this season is patrons seeking to buy additional vouchers will only be allowed to purchase two at a time by utilizing the multiple admissions line beneath the grandstand, near the Saratoga Styles boutique. In the past, they could buy five vouchers at a time.

Patrons also will now be able to only redeem up to three vouchers at a time at giveaway redemption areas near the Big Red Spring and the Top of the Stretch. According to NYRA, this includes the original voucher patrons receive with their paid admission.

In past years, there was no limit to the number of vouchers that could be turned in at one time.

“These policy changes are designed to create a more equitable process for all of our loyal fans and provide an opportunity for more of our guests to enjoy and secure one of our premier Saratoga giveaways,” Lynn LaRocca, NYRA’s chief experience officer, said in a statement Tuesday. “Giveaway days are part of a long tradition at Saratoga Race Course, and these modifications will ensure that more of our guests can leave with one of these prized mementos.”

Durso said he did not think the increase in price for grandstand access, from $3 to $5, would affect the practice of spinning.

In another change, NYRA will not count vouchers purchased at the multiple admissions line as part of its daily attendance on giveaway days. In the past, spinners padded attendance figures but not the handle, or wagering totals. NYRA said it is proactively making this move.

“We’re aware that past attendance numbers may have been inflated on giveaway days due to the practice of incorporating each multiple voucher sold on track as part of our paid admission. These inflated numbers adversely skewed the far more important business metric of on-track per capita spending,” LaRocca said. “The New York Racing Association is committed to transparency and will be discontinuing this policy starting on Opening Day.”

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