The state of New York has tapped most of the members of a new advisory panel to try to attract more fans to the racing industry in the state.
The Racing Fan Advisory Council, a creation of the state racing and wagering board, will be chaired by Patrick Connors, a long-time racing enthusiast and professor at Albany Law School.
The panel’s future recommendations—on everything from shaping regulations to help grow the sport to devising a new state marketing program to promote racing—will be non-binding.
The council was created earlier this summer after a similar plan proposed by both houses of the Legislature died.
Besides Connors, a Saratoga Springs resident who has been a speaker at the law school’s annual Saratoga racing and gaming summit, the panel’s members are Michael Amo, head of the Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association and a county legislator from the Hudson Valley; Allan Carter, the historian of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame; and M. Kelly Young, associate director of national affairs at the New York Farm Bureau, an agriculture industry trade group.
The unpaid positions last for five years. The fifth and final member of the group was not named Sept. 1.
The panel’s main mission is to advise the state racing board on ways to jumpstart the struggling racing industry—both the thoroughbred and harness sectors as well as the state’s off track betting corporations.
“As this council will demonstrate, horse racing survives and thrives on dedication of its fans,” said racing board chairman John Sabini. “For too long, the industry has not listened to the voice of truly devoted horse racing enthusiasts.”
The panel will prepare an annual report to the racing board about the operations of each of the state’s tracks, as well as make recommendations for a new “I LOVE NY Racing’’ marketing program. Given the precarious condition of the state’s finances, its recommendations—or at least the ones that could eventually be adopted—will have to come with little or no price tag for Albany. The panel will also make an annual award, with no monetary prize, to the breeding farms working best “to promote horse racing in New York.’’