The $130 million that went into Santa Fe Station’s beautiful new Race and Sports Book, and a tiny desk lamp draws the most raves. Go, figure!
"That’s the absolute truth," said John Ford, director of casino operations at Santa Fe. "The one comment about the new book that has surfaced above all others is how much the players love those reading lamps at the individual carols. They love the shape of the lamp and how much easier it is to see the numbers."
The lamps are a very small part of the overall package, which is to emphasize horse racing and transform Santa Fe into the top venue for the Vegas horse player.
"We want to create a new breed of racing players," Ford said. "We are going to market horse racing by bringing in jockeys and trainers.
"Seminars are planned in the coming months, along with major events and contests," Ford stated. We’ve doubled our staff to 27 ticket writers. It’s all about servicing our guests."
While horse racing will be pushed, sports betting is hardly being neglected. In fact, Santa Fe has gone high-tech with a 259-seat Race and Sports area featuring a 114-foot video wall and two new restaurants.
Along with the upgrades will come more casino floor space for some 400 slot/video poker machines, an additional 6,000 square feet for meetings and conventions (already in place) along with a high-limit slot area that opens Dec. 7.
"Santa Fe has changed dramatically both technologically and visually," said Bill Walkowski, the director of race and sports. "People want to go where they get good service, experience a top of the line book and feel lucky. I can guarantee them two of the three. They just have to handicap."
Another new convenience is the added 3,000-space parking garage on the North side of the resort with a second valet area leading directly into the Book.
"We took what was learned from the openings at Red Rock and Green Valley Ranch and applied them here," Walkowski said. "The first day we opened, our horse racing volume doubled. Believe me, it’s a whole different atmosphere. Everyone at Santa Fe is excited about the changes."