01/18/2013 5:54PM

NYRA planning to install Trakus and high-definition cameras


The New York Racing Association is contemplating the installation of the Trakus data system at its three racetracks in 2013 and has plans to upgrade to high-definition broadcast capability, NYRA officials said on Friday at a meeting of the New York Racing Association Franchise Oversight Board.

The upgrades were cited during a lengthy review of NYRA’s 2013 budget in which NYRA chief operating officer Ellen McClain and chief financial officer Suzanne Stover were frequently grilled in an adversarial manner by several members of the oversight board who claimed to be seeking explanations for a variety of spending items and operating decisions. McClain and Stover remained diplomatic throughout the three-hour meeting, which opened with a 25-minute discussion over the accuracy of the previous meeting’s minutes.

The Trakus system, which is in place at Keeneland, Santa Anita, Gulfstream, and other major tracks, has been welcomed by many horseplayers for its ability to display full-field representations of races by using chips embedded in horses’ saddle cloths. The representations are far more accurate, timely, and comprehensive than a typical race order punched in by placing judges. In addition, the use of Trakus allows for more accurate transcriptions of race data to charts.

Stover said that the system would cost $1 million to install, though it was unclear at the meeting whether she was referring to an installation cost for all three tracks operated by NYRA or for a single track installation. If the association decides to go ahead with the project, Trakus would most likely be installed first at Saratoga, McClain said.

Discussion at the meeting also centered on an announcement on Thursday that NYRA’s board of directors would consider several measures intended to reduce the catastrophic injury rate on Aqueduct’s inner track. So far this meet, which opened on Dec. 12, five horses have died. However, last year, 21 horses died during the inner-track meet, resulting in the release of a report last September containing dozens of recommendations.

One of the recommendations was the consideration of the installation of an artificial surface for the inner track. McClain told the oversight board that the installation had not been budgeted, but it would be an item of discussion at the Jan. 25 board meeting.

Chaired by New York Lottery Director Robert Williams, the oversight board was formed in 2008 by the state legislature to monitor NYRA’s operations. While it has some broad powers, its status as a regulatory agency is waning due to the state takeover of NYRA’s board late last year

Joseph R Monaco More than 1 year ago
Matt that u included the info that Ellen Mc Cain and Suzanne Stover that they were frequently grilled in an adversarial manner by several members of the oversight board who claimed to be seeking explanations for a variety of spending items and operating decisions, yet Mc Clain and Stover remained diplomatic throughout the 3 hour meeting. This is the same oversight board that was charged with oversight of the NYRA Franchise and had no oversight input with the 1% over charge on the exotic bets that was with held from the betters. At least the NY State Wagering Board finally got rid of John Sabini who also had no idea of the 1% take out and over sees racing in NYState, who was responsible for the 1% take out being rescinded when a year was up. Finally how much abuse does Mc CLAIN have to take when it was leaked that she would b fired at the end of the Saratoga meet, reported by Fred Dicker of the NY Post the who is writing the biography of the Governor Andrew COUMO. I have no hope for the better running of NYRA with the incompetence of the State involved.....Joe
Jim More than 1 year ago
In Baltimore County, I am fortunate that my cable provider (Verizon) has provided TVG and HRTV for years. However, every time I get a message relative to a change in the cable lineup, I dread it. I fear that the day will come when one or both of these will no longer be offered. A move to High Definition by the NYRA to go with some of the existing big circuits gives me hope that, one day, TVG or HRTV (both?) might broadcast in HD. This would increase subscribers. Andy Beyer is one who agrees with me that High Definition is critical to the industry's future.
Joseph R Monaco More than 1 year ago
Trakus does nothing for me when they flip the numbers on the screen as the horses come out of the turns I loose track of which end of the numbers stream is the leaders or the trailers. The NYRA tracks are sight friendly for watching the races being run, the Grandstands are close to the racing ovals, not like Gulfstream.
avlamal More than 1 year ago
trakus is totally frivolous and the money could be used for some fan friendly purpose what that is im sure we could come up with many suggestions better seating in clubhouse in doors more mutual clerks more computer techs clearing clogged tickets out of machines more machines get it -fan friednly equal more handle free admission and parking if u have a million to throw away-show us how that will equal more handle-it wont
Nathan More than 1 year ago
trainers and vets kill horses, not dirt tracks.
Susan Kayne More than 1 year ago
100% correct Nathan.