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Saratoga business owners gear up for opening day

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Albany/HV: Saratoga business owners gear up for opening day
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In anticipation of the start of racing season, downtown Saratoga business owners have been gearing up for months. YNN's Matt Hunter has more no their expectations for this summer's meet.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – One day before the first call to the post, the calls for lunch and dinner kept coming in at Maestro's at the Van Dam.

For the Broadway based restaurant, track season signifies the busy season.

"We don't change anything. We are the same 12 months a year,” owner John LaPosta said. “It just so happens we're 15 percent busier during racing season."

That sentiment is echoed by business owners across the Spa City, where out of town of racing fans have provided an annual jolt to the economy since the Civil War era.

On Thursday, business leaders gathered to highlight their expectations for the track's 144th meet.

"We are looking forward to a great meet,” Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus said. “We expect that visitation will be up and as long as the chamber can guarantee weather like have outside today for the next 41 days, I think we're going to do really well."

According to the county Chamber of Commerce, tourist inquiries are already up five percent from last year.

On Thursday, many guests had already checked in to the Holiday Inn on Broadway.

"We are very optimistic our business will grow through the remainder of the year and particularly during racing season," Holiday Inn general manager Cindy Hollowood said.

The optimism downtown may not quite match that on the track, where a recent shakeup at NYRA has cast a shadow. Business owners say despite those headlines, prospective guests seem to be eager and ready for another strong summer in Saratoga.

"I don't think anybody that arrives there tomorrow or any of these days is going to even notice or pay attention to what's happened at NYRA or Albany," Shimkus said.

"It brings people for the first time to our restaurant and if we do a good job, they come back again and again and again," LaPosta said.

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