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NYRA Partners With America’s Best Racing To Bring “Racing 101” Fan Hub To Saratoga Race Course

By Dan Silver; Mark Bardack | 08/01/2012 05:09 PM ET

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced a partnership with America’s Best Racing to bring a new fan-driven initiative to Saratoga Race Course designed to educate casual fans about the sport of thoroughbred racing.

The inaugural Racing 101 Fan Hub offers patrons the opportunity to receive personal, hands-on tutorials on the fundamentals and intricacies of wagering from a number of professional handicappers from America’s Best Racing, a multimedia platform developed by The Jockey Club dedicated to increasing the profile of America’s best thoroughbred racing events.

Located near the festival tent in the backyard picnic area, the fan development initiative will be introduced for the first time at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 4 and 5 in conjunction with Saturday’s running of the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap. The area will be open beginning at 10:30 a.m. through final post each day.

“NYRA is focused on continuing to grow the next generation of horse racing fans. We recognize that thoroughbred racing is a complex sport and can be intimidating to the casual fan and first-time patron,” said NYRA President and COO Ellen McClain. “This innovative platform is designed to educate and help nurture novice players who seek a better understanding of the game, including handicapping and wagering. We are excited to offer this opportunity for fans to further their knowledge in an effort to enhance their overall experience at Saratoga Race Course.”

Visitors to the Racing 101 Fan Hub will receive one-on-one instruction from some of the industry’s leading handicappers, including fan ambassador and America’s Best Racing talent Joe Kristufek. The personalized tutorials will include direction on the various types of wagers; explanations of track terminology; and best practices for reading the racing program.

Additionally, the handicappers will accompany track patrons to the paddock to explain what qualities to look for in a horse; and also to the pari-mutuel windows to provide guidance on properly placing a bet. Various jockeys, trainers and other racing figures will visit the tent to greet fans and answer questions about the sport. The Racing 101 fan tent will also feature tables and chairs for patrons and television monitors to view the day’s races.

First activated at the 2012 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, the Racing 101 Fan Hub is a pilot program designed to enhance new fan education at premier racing meets throughout the country. The fan development initiative is an element of America’s Best Racing, an awareness building platform developed by The Jockey Club to increase the visibility of horse racing, as well as the lifestyle and competition associated with the sport.

“The vital need to attract new fans to our sport was quickly and concretely identified in the comprehensive economic study we commissioned in 2011,” said James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club. “The Racing 101 Fan Hub and the educational materials available within it on these three weekends at Saratoga Race Course will certainly reach a wide demographic. The Jockey Club is proud to be collaborating with NYRA on such an important fan development initiative.”

The NYRA will again host the Racing 101 Fan Hub at Saratoga Race Course on two additional signature weekends during the 2012 meet: Aug. 18 and 19 to coincide with the Grade 1 Alabama; and Aug. 25 and 26 for the 143rd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers.

For more information on special events at Saratoga Race Course, please visit nyra.com/saratogaevents.shtml.