The head of the horsemen's group at New York's Finger Lakes racetrack said the facility could be forced to close in the coming years unless state officials take action to protect it from a new commercial casino.
With the new, $88-million Meadowlands Racetrack scheduled to open for live Standardbred racing Nov. 23, Jeff Gural understandably has a case of the jitters.
Officials said they are close to a deal to try to bring New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. out of bankruptcy protection, but that a final agreement is being blocked by several harness tracks in the state.
An experiment by a New York racetrack to lower pari-mutuel takeout in the hope of increasing handle was approved March 26 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
An upstate New York harness track announced March 11 it wants to reduce pari-mutuel takeout rates to the state minimum in response to calls from horseplayers.
Slot machines may help purses, but in a competitive environment--even in the same state--they don't guarantee a large horse population if one New York track is any indication.
Vernon Downs, the troubled Standardbred facility near Syracuse, New York faces an uncertain future after regulators gave an outright denial to its 2003 license.
A company that for years has been trying different ways to break into the racing industry has now set its sights on an obscure former Quarter Horse racetrack in upstate New York.
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