Updated 07/19/2012 12:14 PM
NYRA officials unveil new public wifi network at Saratoga
Fans have been placing bets at Saratoga Race Course since the Civil War, but thanks to new technology this year, they'll be able to make their wagers from the palm of their hand. YNN's Matt Hunter has more on those upgrades, plus some of the new dining options you'll find at The Spa this summer.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Eight months after purchasing Shirley's, a downtown Saratoga staple for more than 50 years, Jeanpierre Lareau is taking his new business venture trackside.
Located inside the Carousel, the popular eatery will introduce racing fans to "poutine," a popular Canadian dish featuring French fries, cheese and gravy.
"It's been fantastic, everybody that tastes the sample buys it," Lareau said.
Shirley's is just one of the new eateries at Saratoga this year.
On Wednesday, NYRA officials highlighted some of the new options for members of the media.
"You have to liven it up,” NYRA Vice President and Director of Hospitality Stephen Travers said. “You have to make sure there's variety all of the time."
Chances are one of the safest bets anybody will make all summer is that the track’s new beer garden will be one of the busiest areas at the track. Located behind the grandstand, it will feature 12 craft brews.
"There's lots of beer connoisseurs out there and they like to have a nice beer and this is the place to come," Travers said.
The food on your plate and beer in your glass aren't the only new features at the track this summer.
For the first time ever, free wifi will be made available, giving all fans the capability of wagering directly from their mobile device with the track's new FastBet system.
"All customers on-track will be able to go and get cash cards filled up, put money on this online account and anywhere they are at the track, they can use this FastBet technology to wager on the races here at Saratoga," NYRA Communications Director Dan Silver said.
The FastBet platform will also integrate with NYRA Rewards and other online wagering systems, so longtime bettors won't have to cancel those accounts.
Coupled with the new dining options, officials are confident the upgrades will add even more to the track's fan friendly atmosphere.
"This is a landmark, this is unique in the world, this place," Lareau said.