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Friday, October 07, 2005

Good Omen or Bad?

- Reader Green Mtn Punter has been battling the quirkiness of the Blogger comment system, in which comments can take as long as a day to actually appear on the site. One of these days I’m going to have to get a real website. Anyway, Mr. Punter has forged on against much adversity, and asks Isn't "Sonny Jim" Bruno on the take as a lobbyist- oh excuse me, I mean "consultant" for Stronach and Magna?

He’s referring to the son of Senator Joseph Bruno, who is now pushing for a new operator of the New York racing franchise within six months. And yes, as a matter of fact, he is. Kenneth Bruno’s lobbying firm Albany Strategies is Magna’s lobbyist in Albany….and doesn’t even bother to pass himself off as a “consultant.”

Bruno [Daddy Bruno, that is] called "dumb" any question that suggested that his moves would aid Magna Entertainment, the multitrack owner that has hired Bruno's son, Kenneth Bruno, among its team of Albany lobbyists that includes former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato. [Albany Times-Union]
Well, it should be “dumb” considering, as Nick Kling points out in the Troy Record today, that Magna loses more money in six months than NYRA has lost in the past three years.

Green Mtn Punter also opines “time for the Friends of NY Racing to jump in here, isn't it?” But all Tim Smith has to say for now is 'Senator Bruno's proposal for state loans versus property sale is a good alternative…..Bankruptcy and litigation only benefits the lawyers and would harm the sport and the state's racing industry.' [Saratogian] NYRA feels that the $20 million they would get for the sale of assets would get them through to next year’s Saratoga meet, which in turn would get them through to the promised land of slot machines. Friends of NY Racing is the only party in Albany that actually knows something about racing and that truly (we think) has the best interests of the horsemen and the sport at heart, so if the process of finding a new franchise holder is really going to be accelerated, they need to be set to break from the gate like Lost in the Fog.

- Regarding that land that NYRA wants to sell, it should be made clear that although you never want to see a business having to sell assets to cover everyday operating expenses, the land in question is not being used for anything other than making NYRA pay property tax on it. Green Mtn Punter again: “Perhaps NYRA's charter and loan agreements allow it to sell "non-operating properties….."Operating properties", on the other hand, i.e., those used in the ordinary course of business such as the 3 tracks and their support facilities, probably can't be sold without regulatory blessings.” Since NYRA will be contending that they own all the land that the tracks sit on, I would doubt they would want to make any such distinction publicly, but we’d be interested if any legal experts can shed any light on the matter. Even if we have to wait a day for the comment to appear.

- Bennett Liebman of the Albany Racing and Wagering Page points out:
NYRA turned 50 on Wednesday, and favored Bankruptcy Court ran last in the feature on Thursday the 6th.
Trainer Richard Violette was widely quoted in the trades saying that Bankruptcy Court would run well in his first race since the winter. I don’t know if the fact that a horse with that name ran last is a good omen or bad for NYRA!


Anonymous said...

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