Trust Created for New York Purse Money

Edited press release

New York Racing Association president Charles Hayward and New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association president Richard Bomze announced Aug. 22 a trust account has been established to protect horsemen's purse money.

Horsemen's accounts consist of funds attributed to owners and trainers from purse winnings or their individual deposits. The new trust account, at $20 million, is fully funded and has been deposited, officials said.

"I would like to acknowledge the role of the federal monitor in this process and the collaborative efforts of NYTHA to establish this new account," Hayward said in a release. "In the unlikely event of an insolvency or bankruptcy of NYRA, these monies are segregated through the trust fund and further secured."

Bomze applauded the creation of the trust account.

"I am so pleased that NYRA, under Charlie Hayward, has worked with us to further secure the horsemen's funds," Bomze said. "Now the New York horsemen can feel more secure that all winnings and purse accounts will be further protected."

Hayward also said the horsemen's bookkeeper account is fully funded, and previous timing delays for the depositing of funds to the account have been corrected. NYRA had previously announced the account was fully funded, but subsequently discovered that due to timing delays, that wasn't the case.

The procedure now in place calls for monies equal to the sum of the day's purses to be deposited into the account that morning. The funds are distributed at the close of the racing day. For Saturdays and Sundays, funds are deposited on Monday morning and distributed that same day. Funds for races held on a Monday holiday are deposited and distributed on Tuesday.

In other business, NYRA publicly released its financial statements for the year that ended Dec. 31, 2004. Hayward said the statements "reflect a new level of transparency."

Though he acknowledged the statements show a loss in 2004, NYRA co-chairman C. Steven Duncker said NYRA was able to reduce its loss compared with the previous year; expenses declined; NYRA's performance figures must be weighed against declining industry economics; NYRA continues to labor under a business model that virtually everyone agrees is broken and needs to be fixed legislatively; and the quality of the statements themselves and the manner of their release demonstrate NYRA's continuing commitment to integrity and transparency.

The 2004 financial statement and a restated 2003 financial statement were independently audited by Deloitte & Touche and have been filed with the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

NYRA reported a net loss of $15.98 million for the year ended 2004 compared to a restated net loss of $22.13 million for the year ended 2003, a decrease in net loss of $6.15 million. The previously reported net loss for 2003 was $19.85 million.

Total revenue for the year ended 2004 increased by $4 million, from $283.53 million in 2003 (restated) to $287.53 million in 2004. Net revenue was up $1.19 million, from $151.75 million in 2003 (restated) to $152.94 million in 2004.

Total expenses for the year ended 2004 decreased by $4.96 million compared with year 2003. Total expenses for 2004 were $168.93 million compared with $173.89 million in 2003 (restated). The decrease in expenses is principally due to cost-cutting measures throughout NYRA's overall operation.