Report: NYRA Board Intact Through Saratoga

Report: NYRA Board Intact Through Saratoga
Photo: AP Photo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s stinging criticism of its abilities, the New York Racing Association’s board of directors will not be replaced before the start of NYRA’s financially crucial Saratoga Racecourse meet.

The governor, according to a published report July 16, will wait until September—nearly four months after a deal at the state Capitol to have the state take over NYRA—before appointing his members to the reconstituted board during a three-year restructuring period.

Many industry insiders had expected Cuomo to name his eight members—giving him control over the new 17-member panel—before the Saratoga meet, which provides NYRA with a surge of revenues and relatively good publicity.

But the New York Post, citing unidentified sources, said Cuomo has decided to wait until the Saratoga meet ends on Sept. 3 before acting. Saratoga will be “the last hurrah for the blue bloods who have controlled the board for so long,” the Post quoted an unnamed source as saying.

The deal in May by state officials allows for the existing NYRA board to select five people for the new panel; the other four will be tapped by legislative leaders in control of the majorities in the Senate and Assembly.

As expected, NYRA’s new president, Ellen McClain, will be dismissed when the new board comes in, the Post said. McClain moved up in the NYRA chain after the board fired her predecessor, Charles Hayward, earlier this year during the scandal over bloated takeout rates on exotic wagers. McClain’s appointment had angered the Cuomo administration because it came before the conclusion of an investigation into why NYRA did not lower takeout rates, a move that cost bettors more than $8 million.

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