New York Racing Association (NYRA) – Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack

When the New York Racing Association (NYRA), the non-profit racing association which owns and operates New York’s three largest race tracks, received a renewed franchise from the State of New York, the organisation found itself with a significant future capital allocation to be directed towards improving the racetrack facilities. In order to conceive of the optimal means of improving its three racetracks with these funds, NYRA hired Turnberry to develop a long-term estate strategy. As racing attendance had dropped in recent years, as was the trend across the US, any strategy would need to not only improve the quality of facilities and but also fundamentally transform visitor experience in order to encourage increased patronage.

Each of NYRA’s three racetracks - Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack - required individually tailored development approaches, with recommendations formulated that responded to the state of the facilities, facility locations, building heritage, community needs, racing and training protocol and durations of the various meetings. Turnberry also provided recommendations on the improvement of the barns, stables, training facilities and backstretch facilities in order to both improve efficiency of operations and quality of work environment for those employed in the backstretch.

The bulk of Turnberry’s work to-date has been on plans for improvements to Saratoga Race Course, and this has included coordination of a significant and detailed design exercise, which has now produced a series of capital projects for improvements across the estate and subject to the availability of funding. The company has also lectured extensively in the local community commenting in particular on the history and quality of racing in Saratoga and the across the State of New York, and also on the importance of Saratoga to racing in the US and internationally.

This work has also included significant research into the history of the track, as well as the overall history of racecourse architecture and development, culminating in the publication of an architectural history of Saratoga entitled The Spa: Saratoga’s Legendary Race Course.