Football fans watching games at the race book? Capital OTB President and CEO John Signor says the new Central Avenue race book will cater to both crowds, and in that way, grow the sport.
The new 25,000 square foot betting parlor and sports grill is built to appeal to serious horseplayers and casual fans alike. “We need to grow the number of racing fans we have in the Capital Region,” Signor says. He hopes the state-of-the-art facility, complete with 240 flat screens, 140 carrels, teller windows, as well as a full-service sports grill, will turn casual fans into racing fans.
He gestures to the sunny pub around him, full of framed sports photos and mementos. “A family can go out to eat and sit next to an avid horseracing fan, and they can coexist,” Signor says. He also hopes that the new location–the Clubhouse will be right next door to a brand-new ShopRite on Central–will be good for business. Thousands of shoppers will come to the plaza to do their shopping, and when they do, they will see this facility as well, he says.
Already, the facility has been mobbed, and the new crowds are different. “We’ve seen more women in this place over the last week than in the old building in a year,” he says.
Modeled on Vegas-style casinos and successful sports grills, the brand new Clubhouse Race Book offers racing and sports action. The new building boasts an upscale look and feel, including a beautiful 50 feet mahogany and granite bar–the largest bar in the area, tuxedo-vested tellers, and artwork and silks donated by prominent racing families. The facility also offers a conference room and business offices.
The old OTB Tele-theater, which has stood on Central Avenue for 30 years, closed on New Year’s Eve, and 12 hours later, 550 people attended the new facility’s grand opening. The old location will be demolished in February. Signor expressed no sadness about the overhaul, only satisfaction. “It’s antiquated. It’s got old equipment, tube TVs. It’s far past its prime,” says Signor. Signor used to go to the old Teletheater when he was in college, and he’s proud to be able to bring the race book to a new generation of fans.
“Back then, that was the place to go, and now, this is the place to go,” says Signor.
January 8, Giants fans wearing Giants gear get in free. The play-off game will be shown on the big screens.
January 14, NYRA calendars will be given away to the first 200 admissions.
January 20, The Clubhouse will host Rock ‘n’ Racing, turning the lights down and music up for a night of sports action and racing fun.
The Clubhouse Race Book is located at 711 Central Avenue, behind the old OTB Teletheater. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for individuals over 55.