06/26/2005 11:00PM

Travers prices upped


It will cost fans a little more to attend this year's Travers Stakes at Saratoga, but the price increase will not be as dramatic as the ones the New York Racing Association instituted for the Belmont Stakes.

General admission for Travers Day, Aug. 27, has been increased from $3 to $5 while clubhouse admission will be $10, up from $5. Ticket prices have not been raised. Clubhouse seats for Travers Day range from $22 to $25, while grandstand seats are $17 and $18. Prices for the Belmont Stakes were increased more than 50 percent in most cases.

"We believe that it is still a great value to be part of one of the biggest days in racing," said Charles Hayward, president and CEO of the New York Racing Association.

Hayward added that by raising the admission prices, he hopes to generate an additional $100,000 in revenue, which would help defray the costs of setting up the raceday security barns at Saratoga. Hayward said it cost "a heavy six figures" to set up those barns, Barns 27 and 28, on the far turn of the main track.

NYRA also made a couple of changes to the previously announced stakes schedule for this year's Saratoga meet, which begins July 27. The A.P. Smithwick, a steeplechase stakes, has been moved from Aug. 11 to Aug. 8, the day three steeplechase greats will be inducted into racing's Hall of Fame.

All other steeplechase races will be held on Wednesdays. On three of the Wednesdays (Aug. 3, 17, and 31), NYRA's nine-race cards will have two steeplechase races. In previous years, steeplechase racing was held on Thursdays and alternating Wednesdays. By condensing steeplechase racing to one day a week, management hopes to run more turf races on the flat.

In moving steeplechase racing to Wednesdays, NYRA moved the New York Turf Writers Cup Steeplechase from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31. The Saratoga Dew, a $65,000 dirt stakes for New York-breds, has been moved from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1.

NYRA also announced that purses for New York-bred maiden and first- and second-level allowance races at the meet would be raised by as much as $4,000 to put them on par with open company races. Hayward said statebred races comprise one-third of the races NYRA runs.

Hayward did not commit to statebred purses remaining equal with open-company races in the fall.