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Monday, November 27, 2006

Magna Misplay

- Here's the first indication that Empire Racing's decision to take on an array of corporate partners from outside the state hurt its bid with the state committee that has recommended Excelsior for the NY racing franchise. Saratoga mayor Valerie Keehn, a member of the committee, told the local Channel 9 news that some on the committee worried about Empire's size.

Empire's stakeholders include track and gaming operators Churchill Downs, Magna and Delaware North.

Jerry Bilinski of Excelsior Racing Associates said, "That is our focus, New York. We want New York people running New York racing."
Empire felt that the recommendation of the New York Thoroughbred Horseman's Association would obscure the out-of-state investors and give the company a New York flavor. But it just may have been the questionable decision to include Magna that particularly sabotaged that strategy. Magna, awash in debt, has become a universal symbol of incompetence in the industry, especially after the overwhelmingly negative reviews of the rebuilt Gulfstream Park, and their inclusion invited derision right from the very start. I would guess that's one call that Empire CEO Jeff Perlee would like to have back.

2 Comments:

davidrex said...

The fact that the other group put together a much better financial assistance package couldn't of hoit either.
Empire handled it like they were running for office;while Excelsior managed the proposal like a business.

Green Mtn Punter said...

Alan, interesting post today in re Saratoga Mayor Valerie Keehn's comments on the Empire bid. Pretty gutsy decision in view of Marylou Whitney's support of Empire- Marylou is still the grande dame of Saratoga who with her late husband CV "Sonny" Wnitney has done more to revive Saratoga racing than any other single person. But we shouldn't dance on Empire's grave just yet- there's a long way yet to go before the franchise is awarded. And although I agree with davidrex's comment in re Empire's downfall with the Ad Hoc Committee being it's size and political campaign approach to things, the political approach may prove to be key in the end, i.e., with the politicians in Albany who will ultimately decide. This race is still "setting up", in my opinion, so still much too early to be able to predict the winner. I liked Excelsior's statement (Jerry Bilinski) in re NY racing run by NY'ers- let's just hope that the Albany crowd sees it the same way.