12/02/2013 3:02PM

Aqueduct shifts calendar to race Mondays in winter


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Monday will be the new Wednesday at Aqueduct.

Beginning Jan. 13 and lasting 11 weeks through the end of March, Aqueduct will conduct live racing on Mondays and be dark Wednesdays. In January and March, Aqueduct will maintain a five-day race week – Thursdays through Mondays – while in February it will race four days a week – Fridays through Mondays. It is expected that in April Aqueduct will resume its normal Wednesday through Sunday racing schedule – save for April 13 (Palm Sunday) and April 20 (Easter Sunday), when the track must be closed by law.

The 2014 racing schedule – as well as the stakes schedule for only the Aqueduct meet – is expected to be approved on Wednesday at the New York Racing Association Board of Trustees meeting, to be held in Manhattan.

“As we prepare for re-privatization we want to test certain things in 2014 so that in 2015 we can include those tests that worked and not include those that didn’t work,” Chris Kay, NYRA president and CEO, said. “Rather than say, ‘We think this will work,’ it’s better for us to test it and see if it works.”

With the exception of Saratoga, NYRA has not raced regularly on Mondays since the early 1990s, when it was still conducting racing six days week. NYRA frequently opens on holiday Mondays such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January and Presidents Day in February.

Kay said the idea to race Mondays was initiated by P.J. Campo – who recently resigned his post as NYRA director of racing/racing secretary to take a job at Gulfstream Park – in consultation with horsemen.

“Some of our horseman and P.J. both were saying, ‘Let’s give this a shot,’ ” Kay said. “There’s very little competition on Monday, it might work. Maybe it’ll work, or maybe there’s a reason why there is very little competition on Monday.”

Aqueduct’s primary competitor in the winter is Gulfstream Park which races Wednesday through Sunday, but, like most tracks, is open seven days a week for simulcasting. Tracks that race on Mondays in the winter include Parx, Beulah Park, and Turf Paradise.

Last year, NYRA cut six days of racing – four in February and two in March – due to a reduction in field size attributed in part to new medication rules that differed sharply from nearby states such as Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Many of those states are close to implementing rules that align with New York, giving Kay hope field size will rebound.

Kay said that in presenting 2014 racing dates the same 40-day meet will be sought for Saratoga.

“There is no suggested change in the number of days we run at Saratoga,” Kay said.

Kay’s bonuses

Monday marked five months since Kay took over as NYRA CEO and president. When hired, it was announced that his base salary would be $300,000 and that he would be eligible for up to $250,000 in bonuses based on certain performance metrics.

David Skorton, the NYRA chairman, in response to repeated requests from Daily Racing Form , broadly identified some of those metrics.

“The incentive component was developed using a ‘balanced scorecard’ that is based on key financial and non-financial objectives of NYRA,” Skorton wrote in an email. “The CEO’s performance will be reviewed annually against the goals set by the NYRA Board.”

Skorton wrote that financial items to be considered include revenue, operating results versus prior year, management of capital expenditures, and new revenue initiatives.

Under what he termed “quality,” Skorton indicated issues to be reviewed include return on marketing initiatives, ontrack customer experience, development and implementation of new technologies, leadership (i.e. develop strong management team and relationships with external constituencies), and improvements in equine and jockey safety.

David Smith More than 1 year ago
great idea
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Unless there is some stakes of 8 horses or more or Full field MSW on monday I will pass unless I try a cheap pick 4. Will pass on that also
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
One thing we all will miss this Winter season at the Big A is Ramon. Hopefully, we will have a star among the new apprentice jocks, ladies in the group too, I remember Ramon as an apprentice at Delaware Downs. His star was shinning then. Hope he gets to come back into racing as an owner or trainer or in the press box.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
ooops it was Delaware Park. Sorry
tim More than 1 year ago
Mondays at Aqueduct are a great idea. Is there anything more depressing after a great weekend of racing at the NYRA tracks, than turning on the OTB channel on a Monday and seeing Fingerlakes and Philly Park? Those track announcers seem so sad. The racetracks are so depressing looking too.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
I actually like playing Finger Lakes and Parx and in summer Delaware I made more money at these tracks that I did at Belmont, Charles Town too for those who like bullrings. The pre race handicappers at Finger Lakes are also very good at picking horses. Handicapping in December at Finger Lakes does become a challenge with mud tracks and frozen tracks but the bad weather racing does make for some hi paying long shots to hit the board.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
If you are playing the horses on Monday you need to find some other interest. You got it bad, you might need help, go to meetings. Take up Former Cooking. I am just joking buddy. Lol. I am a Fri to Sun guy
1971 Whippet More than 1 year ago
Forgot one. How about creating incentives for players who go to the track, layered for increasing levels of play? There's a new CEO. Why not change the reinforcement schedule?
wolves More than 1 year ago
according to Blood Horse, their new plan is to raise prices on parking and admission....over in Illinois, a new plan calls for adding a surcharge tax (I think about 1%) on winning wagers placed on-track......brilliant strategy!
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
That is a real industry killer. The tracks need to give people a reason to treck to a track but instead the track. What does the track do to attrack bettors? Shakes 'em down for every nickle and penny.
Jeffrey More than 1 year ago
It defies all common sense to raise admission, parking, and takeout when your business is losing customers. The case in New York is especially peculiar given that they now race maidens for 80K and allowance races up to 95K. They could have solved their woes by reducing purses by less than a percentage point. I go to Las Vegas casinos several times a year and they never charge me to enter. They comp me about 40% of my expected losses. This builds good will and ensures return business. I can go to their race book and get a free Daily Racing Form as well as coffee or liquor (which I don't drink). They have a host who knows my name and sends me emails with various promotions. This arrangement benefits both the casino and the patron. I don't expect my local track to rebate 40% of my expected losses. However, they could do some simple things to generate good will and encourage repeat business. For example, a struggling track would not raise admission. Rather, they would either reduce prices or give free admission. Admittedly, there is an entertainment component to live racing and non-gamblers might reasonably be expected to pay. But loyal customers with a rewards card should be let in free. An alternative scheme is to give free admission to anybody who buys a $50 betting voucher that is only valid on that day. Another idea is a rewards plan that gives a rebate to people who go to the track. My local track refunds 1% of all handle for customers who bet on track. Next, tracks should have a lucrative rebate program that encourages return visits and more churn. Traditionally, these have been secret deals that are given only to massive whales. The plans should include all the players and include meaningful rebates that can be accessed on the next visit. Tracks might consider hiring a host who will make sure the best customers receive all of top perks such as club house admission, free seating, dinners, and valet parking. Finally, tracks should embrace rather than repress ADW's. Racing should exploit its advantage (which is now being eroded with the advent of legal internet gambling in a few states) as the only legal form of online gambling in over half of the states. Many fans enjoy the intellectual exercise of handicapping and betting on the races, but do not prefer live racing or simulcast centers. By forging strategic partnerships with ADW's, tracks can ensure easy access to their product and give them the technological innovations that many desire. ADW's should also have a rebate program that works in tandem with the track's (the Big 'M' is one such example).
1971 Whippet More than 1 year ago
Since you don't always see the pools, I think Win odds should appear in WHITE until 20% of the projected pool has been reached, then YELLOW until 50% of the pool has been wagered, GREEN above 90% and RED when all the bets have been taken. And do away with the feature that allows you to cancel your bet if certain thresholds aren't met. Similarly, there should be no cancellations after 50% of the bets are in.
riconap More than 1 year ago
Every day at Aqueduct there is at least one race where an assistant starter holds on to the reins of a horse after the gate has opened, thereby destroying this horse's chance to win - and yet; there is no refund or declaration of " non - starter." Whether games are being played or incompetence is the cause -the Stewards refuse to respond. This is a larger problem than juggling day's of the week, but the integrity of the sport takes second place to enhancing revenues.
UrboyBlaze More than 1 year ago
im sure u know how easy it is to work in a starting gate my man. cuz holding on to a horse is so easy to do... maybe u should come try it out for a week and see how easy the job is....
m More than 1 year ago
Man you watch alot of races
tim More than 1 year ago
"Integrity of the sport"....ha ha ha ha ha. You are kidding right?
rennhackr More than 1 year ago
I have seen the assistant starter hit a horse in the rear with a rolled up newspaper. must have had a bet on him.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
Why don't the jockeys report this, if it is happening so often? Getting an even start is a hard job as one comment below indicates The horses are hyper in the gate, It is dangerous in there for starters and jocks. It is a job I don't think I would want or would be good at.
Thorobred Racing More than 1 year ago
Get rid of those Corrupt Stewards and NY racing will improve. The betting public is sick amd tires amd will not support NY Racing when they can see the collusion & corruption that is happening at present. Bettors can concentrate on Gulfstream/ Tampa/ Santa Anita and leave Aqueduct to the stewards after all their decisions are final, irregardless how much money they cost the betting public. Let the State pass a law that Racing Stewards could be held liable for their actions.
martymar . More than 1 year ago
are you still mad about your $2, if you would like I will mail you $5 so you can stop crying
Mike Reinhardt More than 1 year ago
Stewards decisions don't affect how much money goes out to the public, that is called takeout. If one horse is 2-1, and another is 75-1, the same amount of money is paid out of the win pool regardless. No amount of money is being kept from the bettors. You should know this.
Fred Danielsen More than 1 year ago
improve the quality of the product and business will improve, they don't know and don't understand Fred D
B More than 1 year ago
Bad move if you want the California business. Most simulcasts aren't opened on Mondays....lol
Craig Mathews More than 1 year ago
You got hat right. All the off track betting which is expanding into restaurants are open wed. thru Sunday. Bad move NYRA.........