Three NYRA Tracks Raided by State Investigators

The New York Racing Association's three racetracks were raided by state investigators Dec. 15 as part of a sweeping probe sources said could be aimed primarily at the system of weighing jockeys.
 
The raid at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga was carried out by the New York Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force and the State Police. Both agencies declined comment.
 
NYRA officials, including its new co-chairman, Steve Duncker, declined comment.
 
It is unclear how high up the investigation at NYRA may be headed, but sources said at least one leading NYRA official raised concerns to state officials during the past year about how jockeys are weighed before races. Whether the probe is looking at anything that could raise questions about the integrity of racing at NYRA also is unclear.
 
The raids were the latest in a string of incidents involving NYRA over the past several years. Next year, the state must decide whether to begin the process of putting NYRA's franchise out to bid. Its franchise to operate the tracks expires December 31, 2007.

NYRA was raided several years ago as part of a probe into illegal activities involving its pari-mutuel department. That investigation resulted in NYRA being fined $3 million, and its operations are now overseen by a court-appointed monitor as part of a deferred prosecution arrangement.
 
The early-morning raids were at all three tracks, but investigators focused their energies chiefly at Aqueduct, racing industry sources said.

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