The still-stalled franchise extension for the New York Racing Association, a new steroid testing lab, and a company to run a casino at Aqueduct Racetrack are all still on the negotiating table June 23 when lawmakers in New York return to the Capitol for the final days of the 2008 legislative session.
The New York Racing Association, written off as dead a year ago by its competitors, has won the rights to a 25-year exclusive franchise to continue operating Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga racetracks.
The New York Racing Association will run racing for the next 25 years under legislation approved February 13 that provides hundreds of millions of dollars in direct aid and loan forgiveness to NYRA and new oversight abilities by the state.
Charles Wait, president of the Adirondack Trust Company in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has resigned from his position on the New York Racing Association's board of trustees, citing his dissatisfaction with the position of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno as the main reason for his decision.
Though state racing regulators failed to approve a temporary license for the New York Racing Association to continue racing in January while talks about a permanent franchise deal continue, NYRA struck a deal with the state to continue operating Aqueduct through Jan. 23.
The New York Racing Association can agree to new performance benchmarks for its operations as part of a franchise extension deal, but state officials must be more flexible to take into account future changes in the racing industry that could affect those new standards, according to the president of NYRA.
Wednesday morning, the cameramen are in full swing at Saratoga. In the paddock, they cluster around for the Travers draw, tripods balanced like long-legged storks. In the winners' circle, they form an orderly line for Senator Bruno's conference on the fight against horse slaughter. Down near the rail, they lift cameras to shoulders and zoom in for local track reports.
New York Gov. George Pataki is offering $10 million in immediate aid to help keep the ailing New York Racing Association from insolvency, and he pledged to work with legislators on another measure to lend NYRA cash against its future gaming proceeds.
New York's top Republican in the state legislature has called for the creation of a $30-million state fund to help the New York Racing Association overcome its financial crisis while the state speeds up the process to award a new Thoroughbred franchise.
A powerful New York legislator says the franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga racetracks should be awarded in the next six months in order to ensure the continued viability of racing in the state.
Thoroughbred owner Jack Knowlton is among six appointments to a newly-created Committee on the Future of Racing announced by New York Republican Gov. George Pataki and state Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno on Friday.
With New York losing nearly $3 million a day, Gov. George Pataki Feb. 15 told legislative leaders he wants a quick resolution to a dispute that has kept casino operations from opening at Aqueduct and Yonkers racetracks.
The franchise for the New York Racing Association should be put out to bid and awarded to an entity that will turn the troubled racing group into a for-profit enterprise, the New York state Legislature's top Republican said Tuesday.
The New York state Senate June 3 gave quick approval to a plan to overhaul the regulation of racing in the state, including a provision designed to get video lottery terminals installed this year at Aqueduct.