Bad weather, service glitches lead to rough day at Breeders’ Cup

first_imgBY JESSICA SMITH Staff Writer Though there was a palpable air of festivity at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Monmouth Park, not everyone was a satisfied customer. ERIC SUCAR staff Wet and muddy conditions made the TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint a difficult race at the 2007 Breeders’ Cup held at Monmouth Park in Oceanport on Saturday. Both Friday and Saturday saw intermittent rain showers, driving many from their seats outside into the packed clubhouse and grandstand areas. With prices for seats climbing into the hundreds for some, it was no wonder that there were a few unhappy racing fans. “You’re not going to sit in the pouring rain,” Dave Manning of Red Bank said. “This was set up to support a sunny day. Monmouth Park has to make a change. Right now, you could pay $1,000 to be at the finish line in the pouring rain, but you can’t come inside to this bar. They didn’t tell people you can’t be inside.” Manning paid $60 for Friday’s ticket and $225 for Saturday. He said he planned to put in a phone call to the governor’s office to express his displeasure. The bar Manning referred to was the patio terrace teletheater, whose patrons also paid $225 for Saturday seats. Another local ran into a problem, while trying to place his bets Saturday. Ray Watson of Middletown was using an automatic teller machine when his $200 voucher got jammed within. He waited through two races for an attendant to come to his aid. “As a regular, they said they were going to better the machines, and they made it worse just in time for the Breeders’ Cup,” Watson said. “It’s a shame.” Watson visits the track often, especially during the summer’s live racing meet. At the Breeders’ Cup, however, he said he stepped up his betting above his usual level. “A big tip came all the way from South Africa,” Watson said. “I put $100 on one horse today – Any Given Saturday.” His grandparents and friends there asked him to put money on the horse, which ran in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Unfortunately for Watson and his far-off family members, Curlin took home the purse. Later in the day, the same teller machine thwarted another fan, who waited over an hour before someone responded. Thomas Terranova of Manhattan began losing his patience as time wore on. “I was here yesterday and thought it was a great venue,” Terranova said. “I was impressed until this incompetence, and total lack of appreciation for the fan. I’m just lucky I have friends who put my bets in.” With the overwhelming crowds, there did not seem to be enough attendants to keep up with the teller machines scattered throughout the property. Perhaps foreseeing this problem, track workers put many of the machines out of commission for the twoday event. Scott Zitzman of Eatontown also said he felt a lack of appreciation from the track he frequents year in and year out. “We’re the fans that pay for this every year,” Zitzman said. “The people who live around here should have gotten a preference.” Zitzman paid $50 for a seat, but opted to hang out near the paddock, at his usual spot. One perk he enjoyed as a local was the ability to walk over and avoid the standstill traffic at the end of the day. In preparation for the big event, Monmouth Park underwent $30 million worth of improvements – something that local fans can reap the benefits of for years to come. Most were too excited with the goingson to notice anything that might have gone wrong. “I’m so thrilled,” Bobby Wagner of Ocean Grove said. “All the renovations they did – they did a wonderful job.”last_img read more