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Sep 02, 2011

Major improvements planned for Saratoga



Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - Historic Saratoga Race Course is in line for major improvements to its facilities, including the backstretch. The New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced Thursday an extensive list of capital improvement projects.

"NYRA is deeply committed to preserving the historic fabric of Saratoga Race Course while implementing a capital improvement strategy that will allow Saratoga to grow and flourish for years to come," said NYRA president and CEO Charles Hayward. "This menu of potential projects is designed to generate feedback from the public in order to incorporate the needs and wants of every Saratoga stakeholder, including the fans, horsemen, and general community."

The local community will receive its first look of the proposed upgrades at a community forum at the Saratoga Springs City Center on Thursday beginning at 6:30 p.m. (et).

"The projects we choose to undertake will not be determined unilaterally. We recognize that part of what makes Saratoga Race Course so special is its deep integration and embracement by the community," Hayward noted. "All of us at NYRA truly look forward to hearing from the public as we prepare to make essential and intelligent changes to bolster the fan experience and to secure the future of Saratoga. The only project not up for public debate is the much- needed improvements to the dormitories and facilities along the backstretch."

The backstretch improvements include replacement or refurbishment of existing dormitories to provide enhanced living arrangements for workers, general improvements to the utilities and landscaping -- including re-landscaping the equine areas to create an improved separation between vehicles and horses -- and addition of 200 new stalls to increase the horse population and, hopefully, field sizes.

Among the proposed improvements for the frontside are general clubhouse and grandstand refurbishment, paddock redesign and historic saddling shed redesign.

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