MR. SMITH GOES TO NYC?
Tim Smith likes a challenge, and there may be no bigger one than that facing NYRA. There is a lot more to the job than righting a ship that is badly adrift in the wake of a federal indictment last year. Financially troubled NYRA faces possible extinction in 2007 -- when its franchise to operate racetracks in New York comes to an end. Renewal of the franchise may not be enough. The disadvantageous circumstances under which the organization has had to operate must be changed if NYRA (or some other company) is expected to put on this country's finest racing, as it traditionally has. The landscape is changing dramatically, given the recent approval of slot machines at Pennsylvania racetracks and other locations. No company can be expected to remain viable, healthy, and competitive under the current racing law in New York. The New York legislature and executive branch, which like to keep racing under their thumb as much as possible, must somehow be convinced to give the industry a break. In his role as NTRA commissioner, Smith has proven to be extremely effective as a consensus and coalition builder. But he's no miracle worker. If he goes to New York, he'll need help in Albany to make NYRA healthy once again.
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