Today's debut of new Aqueduct enhancements, improvements reflects $14 million in recent capital investment
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Today's debut of new Aqueduct enhancements, improvements reflects $14 million in recent capital investment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEWednesday, October 29, 2014Contact: John Durso, Jr. or Jenny Kellner(718) 659-2244 jdurso@nyrainc.comvkellner@nyrainc.com

Today's debut of new Aqueduct enhancements, improvements reflects $14 million in recent capital investment Live racing resumes at 1 p.m.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Debuting $3.5 million in new technological advancements and capital improvements, opening day at Aqueduct Racetrack reflects $14 million in recent capital investment by the New York Racing Association designed to further enhance the guest experience and improve the quality of racing. First post today is at 1 p.m.

"We have come a very long way at The Big A," stated Christopher Kay, Chief Executive Officer and President of the New York Racing Association. "Investing $14 million in capital funds over the course of the past 16 months, we have transformed the very look and feel of Aqueduct Racetrack, and tried to further enhance the experience for our horseplayers and our fans."

The New York Racing Association has incorporated the input of guests into the continued transformation of The Big A. One of the most transformational additions was the opening of Longshots, a state-of-the-art simulcasting center and sports bar located on the second floor of Aqueduct Racetrack.

With more than 270 individual handicapping carrels and 55 self-service betting terminals located across four separate seating areas, Longshots has become highly popular with horseplayers year-round, including the Belmont and Saratoga meets when operations shifted away from Aqueduct. From April through today, more than 40,000 guests have visited Longshots, wagering approximately $25 million.

Further building off the success of Longshots, guests traveling to Aqueduct today and in the days to come will be greeted by a series of additional, visible capital improvements recently completed by the New York Racing Association. This includes:

New High-Definition Infield Video Boards with Trakus Technology: The New York Racing Association has completed the installation of new, high-definition infield video boards featuring state-of-the-art Trakus technology. These new video displays will enable horseplayers to easily follow their preferred horse from the starting gate to the finish line, adding a new level of excitement for Aqueduct guests.New Airport-Style Seating: The New York Racing Association has replaced more than 450 bucket seats at Aqueduct, many of which dated back more than 50 years - for the racetrack's grand opening. Consistent with the Association's focus on an enhanced guest experience at each of its racing properties, these aged, obsolete seats have been replaced with modern, airport-style seating which are sturdier and more comfortable. New Flat Screen Televisions: The New York Racing Association has recently installed more than 100 new flat screen, HD televisions throughout Aqueduct Racetrack, bringing the total up to 557. These TVs range from 22" to 90", and can be found on all levels of the facility. New Infield Upgrades: The New York Racing Association has completed upgrades to the racetrack's large infield, part of a continuing effort to improve the external look of the racetrack. The infield pond was refurbished, with a new fountain added. Foliage was also replaced, and new shrubs planted. New sod was also installed to provide a fresh look. New First Floor Improvements: The New York Racing Association has completed upgrades to the first floor of the racetrack. A new paint scheme was created and installed, similar to Aqueduct's popular Longshots Bar and Simulcasting Facility. First floor columns were newly wrapped with diamond plate, and new tile was installed to replace worn, aged carpets.

Capital improvements designed to further improve the quality of racing include:

New Warning Light System: Consistent with a continuing, steadfast focus on equine safety, the New York Racing Association has outfitted pole markers with warning lights, which illuminate in the event of a loose horse or injury during morning workouts. This warning system, which was recently installed earlier this year at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, complements an existing siren system for alert and response purposes. New International Stalls: With Aqueduct and Belmont thoroughbred competition attracting more overseas participants, the New York Racing Association has completed the construction of 10 new international stalls at Aqueduct. These stalls, which separate horses originating overseas for USDA review and inspection, will result in a more streamlined process that will continue to support long-term growth in international equine competition. Dorm Improvements: Consistent with a continuing effort to upgrade living conditions for backstretch workers at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, the New York Racing Association has completed several upgrades to all of Aqueduct's backstretch dorms over the past year. In addition to needed electrical work, this included upgrades to plumbing fixtures and systems, as well as carpentry and general labor. Barn Improvements: All of Aqueduct's barns have been power washed, cleaned and repainted on the inside, with stalls and tack rooms renovated and barn windows replaced.

Additional capital improvements completed within the past 16 months include:

Installation of new turf blankets, new duralock rail and new rail pads along the track.Installation of hundreds of miles of modernized wire and cable throughout Aqueduct's grandstand, clubhouse, paddock and infield.Installation of new lighting throughout the backstretch, across horse paths, and within parking lots.Development of vibrant, equine-themed urban murals throughout the grandstand and clubhouse.

Aqueduct's fall meet, which begins today and continues through December 31, will feature the running of 24 stakes races, worth more than $4 million in purses. The racing schedule is highlighted by the running of the Cigar Mile on November 29, which honors the recently deceased, two-time Horse of the Year, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott.

For more information about Aqueduct Racetrack, please visit NYRA.com/Aqueduct.About the New York Racing AssociationNYRA's mission is "Meeting the highest standards in thoroughbred racing and equine safety." Founded in 1955, and franchised to run thoroughbred racing at New York's three major tracks (Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course) through 2033, NYRA boasts a lineage that actually stretches back almost 150 years. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of the state's thoroughbred business which contributes more than $2 billion annually to New York State's urban, suburban and rural economy. In 2013, nearly 1.7 million people attended the live races at NYRA tracks. The average daily handle on NYRA races is more than $9 million, factoring in nationwide off-track wagering.

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Patrick Patten is co-founder of the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance, and has been blogging for over 6 years. He took part in the Mark Kaufman workshop in 2008 about the power of blogs, and joined the TPA shortly after.  He is a homer for Monmouth Park, and when he's not blogging he works in the Natural Gas industry, has a lovely wife, and 3 beautiful daughters who are growing up too fast.