The nation's financial crisis has stepped up efforts to prod state government in New York to select an operator for the long-stalled video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct, and launched a renewed effort to bring VLTs to Belmont Park.
Big Brown breezed Sept. 30 for the first time since winning the Monmouth Stakes on the grass Sept. 13. The dual classic-winning 3-year-old went five furlongs in 1:04.21 over Aqueduct's main track.
The New York Racing Association, created more than 50 years ago to bolster the Thoroughbred industry, took on a new life Sept. 12 with the formal approval by the state of a new 25-year franchise to exclusively operate Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga racetracks.
- By Tom Precious
The New York Racing Association is expected to emerge from Chapter bankruptcy and make official its 25-year franchise extension Sept. 12.
The new top regulator of racing in New York state offered a tough assessment of an industry he says is in decline in many ways because of its own doing.
The three bidders vying for lucrative rights to develop a casino at Aqueduct racetrack in New York have all passed a critical background check by the state, Governor David Paterson said July 20.
The New York Racing Association has been granted another temporary extension to continue operating during most of the Saratoga meet while it negotiates a final deal with the state for a 25-year franchise.
The outspoken leader of Capital Play, one of the entities vying for the big Aqueduct video lottery casino deal, is stepping down.
Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. addressed the media at his own request June 27 outside his Aqueduct barn to set the record straight on his 15-day ban in Kentucky for an overage of the bronchial dilator, clenbuterol, in Salute the Count, the runner-up of the Aegon Turf Sprint (gr.III) at Churchill Downs May 2.
The bill is fairly minor in nature, enacting a series of mostly technical amendments to a law approved earlier this year giving NYRA a 25-year extension to run Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga. But NYRA officials have said they could not resolve its bankruptcy proceeding without it.
Charlie Hayward, the president and chief executive officer of the New York Racing Association, spoke about NYRA's ongoing franchise issues during a June 23 press conference in Albany, N.Y., previewing the upcoming Saratoga Race Course meet.
New York officials announced the evening of June 15 a deal to avert the closure of New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. by having the state take over the entity. The move could be a prelude to a statewide consolidation of all OTB corporations.
The state of New York will take over the operations of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., Gov. David Paterson announced June 13, as part of a broader plan that could end up consolidating all of the state's OTBs.
Negotiators are eyeing a plan to have the state of New York take over the running of New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., which is threatening to shut down this weekend unless a revenue sharing structure is changed.
A major commercial real estate developer said April 28 it has combined forces with the Hard Rock Entertainment hotel and restaurant chain in a bid with New York state to operate a video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct.
Peter Vegso's resilient 8-year-old homebred Silver Tree returned to the winner's circle for the first time since last August, stalking the pace and then pulling away in the stretch to win the $100,000 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT) by 1 1/2 lengths April 27 on the Aqueduct turf.
Last after a half-mile, Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable's Criminologist began her assault on the lead into the final turn and needed only half the stretch to strike the front, as the 5-year-old mare won by a measured half-length under John Velazquez in the $100,000 Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT) April 26 on the Aqueduct turf.
Stronach Stables' homebred Harlem Rocker caught pacesetter J Be K in mid-stretch and drew clear for a convincing 2 1/2-length victory in the $150,000 Withers Stakes (gr. III) April 26 on the Aqueduct dirt, staying undefeated in three starts.
Although he failed to win his most recent start at Gulfstream Park, Peter Vegso's homebred Silver Tree turned in a solid effort in that April 5 race and has been assigned the high weight in the $100,000 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct April 27, closing day at the New York track.
Only four other runners will go up against the Shug McGaughey-trained Criminologist in her second start of the season, but those four have solid credentials and equal chances at taking the $100,000 Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIT) at Aqueduct April 26.
Todd Pletcher will saddle half of the four-horse field in the $150,000 Withers Stakes (gr. III), but even favorable odds may not be enough to overcome the talent of J Be K, who goes for his fourth win in five starts April 26 at Aqueduct.
A small but accomplished group of 4-year-old fillies will clash in the $150,000 Bed o' Roses Handicap (gr. II) April 19 on the dirt at Aqueduct, including three entering off of graded stakes victories. The seven-furlong Bed o' Roses drew a field of six.
Sherine, the longest price on the board at 13-1 in a five-horse field, took them all on a merry chase in the $147,000 Comely Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct April 12. Ridden by Alan Garcia, the 3-year-old filly covered the one mile on dirt in 1:37.25.
If Gold Mark Farm's Elusive Lady can continue the forward progress she demonstrated with a runner-up effort in the March 15 Florida Oaks (gr. III), the $150,000 Comely Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct should be all hers April 12.
Bustin Stones took his sixth race in a row when he proved victorious in the Carter Handicap (gr. I).
A $50,000 claim last October, Maggi Moss' Temporary Saint wins the $150,533 Excelsior Handicap (gr. III) April 5 at Aqueduct.
Talented sprinter J Be K made it a perfect three-for-three around one turn, as the 3-year-old Silver Deputy colt easily put away six rivals to win the $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) by five lengths April 5 at Aqueduct.
Due to heavy overnight rains continuing into April 4, the New York Racing Association has canceled live racing at Aqueduct in an effort to preserve the racing surface for the Wood Memorial program on April 5.
Elisabeth Alexander's Magna Graduate, winner of last year's $200,000 Excelsior Handicap (gr. III), will look to break a seven-racing losing streak when he returns to the 1 1/8-mile event at Aqueduct April 5.
Zayat Stables' J Be K is no longer on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) trail, but the lightly-raced 3-year-old will try to score his first graded stakes victory April 5 when he takes on seven sprinters in the $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct.
Bustin Stones and Spring at Last, two horses at the top of their game, meet in an East vs. West showdown in the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr.I) at Aqueduct April 5.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez and trainer Gary Contessa won their respective titles and set records when Aqueduct concluded its 2007-08 inner-track meet March 30. Racing switches to the main track April 2.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out two of his charges for works March 30 on the fast training track at Belmont Park. Both Stonerside Stable's Texas Wildcatter and Peachtree Stable's Spurrier are nominated to the April 5 Wood Memorial (gr. I) for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs on Aqueduct's main track.
Edward Seltzer's Wow Me Free started slowly and trailed the field around the first turn, but the poor start did little to deter the daughter of Menifee, as she took over in mid-stretch and powered to a convincing 3 -length victory in the $104,400 Next Move Handicap (gr. III) March 29 at Aqueduct.
In a financial statement released by the New York Racing Association March 28, the non-profit organization reported total net operating losses of $34.28 million in 2007. That figure is nearly double from 2006, when total net losses reached $17.83 million.
Kiaran McLaughlin will certainly have the odds in his favor March 29, as the veteran trainer will saddle three of the five entrants in the $100,000 Next Move Handicap (gr. III), a 1 1/8-mile dirt test for fillies and mares at Aqueduct.
Rite Moment benefited from a clean start in Aqueduct's $150,000 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) March 22, wrapping up her fourth win from five starts over the inner track.
Bustin Stones worked March 22 in preparation for his grade I debut in the Carter Handicap on April 5. Trainer Bruce Levine said the undefeated colt will run on Lasix.
Maryland-based trainer Michael Trombetta will start a pair of 4-year-old fillies in the $150,000 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) March 22 at Aqueduct, including probable favorite Control System, the only graded stakes winner in the field of six.
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Shadwell Farm has become the presenting sponsor for the New York Racing Association's Travers Stakes (gr. I) and Suburban Handicap (gr. I) through 2009.
Gary Sciacca was permitted to begin training horses in New York March 18 after serving a 120-day suspension under the trainer-responsibility rule.
The New York Racing Association announced March 19 that Hill 'n' Dale Farms will continue to sponsor the Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) through 2010.
Carolyn's Cat won the expected early speed duel from Dill Or No Dill and then never looked back, going wire-to-wire for a 3 3/4-length victory in the $100,000 Cicada Stakes (gr. III) March 15 on the inner dirt course at Aqueduct.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez set a single-season record for wins on Aqueduct's inner track when he rode Winning Move Stable's Oedipus O'Neal to victory for trainer Gary Contessa in the fourth race on Aqueduct's March 15 card.
Contessa's entries are True Intentions and Ready for Fortune, who will be coupled for owner Dennis Narlinger, and Dill Or No Dill, who won a six-furlong event at Aqueduct in her sophomore debut.
Saratoga Russell, who finished eighth as the 8-5 favorite in the March 8 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) Aqueduct, will undergo a myectomy March 13, according to trainer Rick Violette.
Trainer Michael Matz said that Gotham winner Visionaire appears to have come out of his March 8 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) victory in good shape, and will ship back to Palm Meadows in Florida March 11.
Louis Olah, the longtime "colors man" in the jockeys' rooms at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga, died the evening of March 8 following a brief illness. He was 79.
Betting favorite Sir Greeley saved ground in the early going, moved along that same path in the upper stretch to take the lead, and held on gamely under Eibar Coa for a 3/4-length victory in the $100,000 Toboggan Handicap (gr. II) March 8 in the slop at Aqueduct.
The New York Racing Association, which has had to delay its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, was given another extension by the state to continue racing at its tracks.
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