Column by John Manzi
There’s no doubt that Kenoza Lake's Maureen Flynn knows her business. Over the years the longtime director of simulcasting and pari-mutuels at Monticello Raceway has worked relentlessly to make the Mighty M a very attractive venue to wager on.
Once one of the premier racetracks in New York State set in the bucolic environment of the Catskill Mountains vacationland, Monticello Raceway afforded seasonal visitors a venue for entertainment during the summertime.
With increasingly successful seasons during the harness racing boom of the 1960s and early 1970s, racing schedules expanded until 1984 when Monticello Raceway became a year-round racetrack. But as things changed in the Catskills and the hotels and bungalow colonies disappeared, attendance at the Mighty M also dissipated.
In the 1990s, as the famous Borscht Belt became but a memory, the vacationland found itself without the multitudes of vacationers. And Monticello Raceway had to search for patrons. So with the falling on-track attendance, Flynn decided long ago to pursue the off-track bettors and her efforts have resulted in Monticello Raceway, not only surviving in a slumping area with a diminishing economy, but emerging as one of the better racetracks on the East Coast.
Flynn’s hard work resulted in setting up systems of transporting the Monticello Raceway signal out to a growing number of off-track wagering facilities.
“Sure, everyone wanted to increase the on-track attendance and wagering, but with afternoon racing set in a locale of minimal population, other ideas had to be explored and I strongly suggested that we export our racing signal to as many places as we can,” Flynn said.
And her attention to business resulted in an ever-expanding market for off-track wagering.
“We now send our signal to over 650 off-track betting sites throughout the United States and Canada,” Flynn acknowledged. “And we send our race signals to more than 15 foreign countries.”
Under her supervision on August 2, 2006 the Mighty M enjoyed an all-time pari-mutuel handle of $1,432,217; one that any small racing facility would envy. Now in her 22nd year at the helm of wagering at Monticello, the Brooklyn-born Flynn has applied her business skills to racing.
”When I lived in Brooklyn I worked in the garment center in accounting and economics and I applied many of the theories to racing,” she said. “My business background has been invaluable.”
Flynn explored the $.10 superfectas and the $.50 trifectas which have proven to be a great addition to the Mighty M betting menu. She also worked tirelessly to get approval for superfecta wagering when a late scratch occurs in an eight-horse field.
“We lobbied for and received permission this year to have superfectas in every race,” Flynn added.
“I consider Maureen to be one of the preeminent simulcast minds in the country,” says Mighty M General Manager Shawn Wiles. “Monticello Raceway is extremely fortunate to have her on our staff. Much of our success can be attributed to Maureen’s keen mind and her ability to adapt to the ever-changing simulcasting landscape.”
With attention to wagering and its expansion thereof, Flynn’s efforts have been instrumental in the Mighty M’s continuance of harness racing in the Catskill Mountains.
When the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA holds its 54th annual awards banquet at the Fountains on Sands Road in Middletown NY on Sunday evening, November 18, Maureen Flynn will be presented with an Award of Appreciation.