The New York Racing Association, which emerged from a state government control period this year, is involving itself more in New York politics.
A political action committee connected to NYRA was formed in the past several days, according to records filed with the state board of elections. The Sustainable Racing NY PAC lists its address as Aqueduct Racetrack and its treasurer is Gordon Lavalette, NYRA's chief financial officer.
Separate from the nonprofit NYRA, as required by law, Sustainable Racing NY has not yet started raising money, but it envisions focusing its efforts on a variety of Thoroughbred-related issues, from increasing the industry's fan base to racetrack improvements. While the group envisions Thoroughbred fans contributing to the PAC, it's more likely the vast bulk of its future donations will flow from individuals and companies with financial stakes in the industry.
The PAC was created, Lavalette said in a written statement provided Friday, "to advocate and promote issues of importance to the future of Thoroughbred racing in New York."
"It will seek to support candidates and policy decisions that recognize the importance of an industry responsible for 17,000 jobs and more than $2 billion in economic impact annually in the state,'' Lavalette added.
To what extent the PAC gets involved in local races in New York this year won't be known until upcoming disclosure reports are made public in the coming weeks and months. Next year in New York, statewide races will feature campaigns for governor and other statewide elected officials, as well as all members of the New York State Legislature.
Beyond name, address, and treasurer name, no other information about the PAC was available on its registration with the New York State Board of Elections.
The PAC's interests, according to sources, will also include efforts to drive more revenues to the industry, sustaining and increasing jobs, as well as health and safety issues affecting backstretch workers, jockeys, and racehorses.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers earlier this year ended a state control period of NYRA that began in 2012. The state, through appointments on the board and a government entity called the Franchise Oversight Board, still has a heavy say in NYRA's short- and long-term affairs.